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Diet Drinks Linked With Heart Disease, Death

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A new study finds women who drink the most diet sodas are more likely to have heart disease.


Diet Drinks Linked With Heart Disease, Death

By Maggie Fox

Women who drink the most diet sodas may also be more likely to develop heart disease and even to die, according to a new study published Saturday.

Researchers found women who drank two or more diet drinks a day were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, and 50 percent more likely to die, than women who rarely touch such drinks.

The findings, being presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, dont suggest that the drinks themselves are killers. But women who toss back too many diet sodas may be trying to make up for unhealthy habits, experts say.

Our study suggests an association between higher diet drink consumption and mortality, said Dr. Ankur Vyas, a cardiovascular disease expert at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic, who led the study.

Its not an extreme risk, he added.

Research has long shown that artificially sweetened drinks are not health drinks. While they may help people avoid more dangerous sugary sodas, studies show they don’t help people lose weight.

Vyass team studied nearly 60,000 middle-aged women taking part in a decade-long study of womens health. They filled out a questionnaire on food and drinks as part of the study, including detailed questions on diet sodas and diet fruit drinks.

After just under nine years, the researchers checked to see what happened to the womens health. They found that 8.5 percent of the women who drank two or more diet drinks a day had some sort of heart disease, compared to 6.8 percent of those who drank four or fewer drinks a week and 7.2 percent in those who drank none or just a couple a month.

We only found an association, so we cant say that diet drinks cause these problems, Vyas said.

And thats a fairly low risk, given that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and is very, very common.

The women who drank the most drinks were also more likely to smoke, to be overweight, to have diabetes and to have high blood pressure, Vyas noted.

The American Beverage Association, an industry group that lobbies on behalf of soft drink manufacturers, echoed that point in a statement prepared in response to the study. Because of those other risk factors, it is impossible to attribute their cardiovascular health issues to their diet beverage intake, the group said.

The researchers say it is not clear what is causing the effects in women whether it is something in diet drinks, or whether women who drink many diet drinks have more unhealthy habits or risk factors than women who do not.

About one in five people in the U.S. consume diet drinks on a given day, according to federal survey data.

First published March 29 2014, 6:39 AM

Maggie Fox

Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.

She’s a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.

She’s reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.

Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She’s done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.

… Expand Bio

2014 NBCNews.com

msnbc.com

A new study finds women who drink the most diet sodas are more likely to have heart disease.


Women who drink the most diet sodas may also be more likely to develop heart disease and even to die, according to a new study published Saturday.

Researchers found women who drank two or more diet drinks a day were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular “event,” and 50 percent more likely to die, than women who rarely touch such drinks.

The findings, being presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, don’t suggest that the drinks themselves are killers. But women who toss back too many diet sodas may be trying to make up for unhealthy habits, experts say.

“Our study suggests an association between higher diet drink consumption and mortality,” said Dr. Ankur Vyas, a cardiovascular disease expert at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic, who led the study.

“It’s not an extreme risk,” he added.

Research has long shown that artificially sweetened drinks are not health drinks. While they may help people avoid more dangerous sugary sodas, studies show they don’t help people lose weight.

Vyas’s team studied nearly 60,000 middle-aged women taking part in a decade-long study of women’s health. They filled out a questionnaire on food and drinks as part of the study, including detailed questions on diet sodas and diet fruit drinks.

After just under nine years, the researchers checked to see what happened to the womens’ health. They found that 8.5 percent of the women who drank two or more diet drinks a day had some sort of heart disease, compared to 6.8 percent of those who drank four or fewer drinks a week and 7.2 percent in those who drank none or just a couple a month.

“We only found an association, so we can’t say that diet drinks cause these problems,” Vyas said.

And that’s a fairly low risk, given that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and is very, very common.

The women who drank the most drinks were also more likely to smoke, to be overweight, to have diabetes and to have high blood pressure, Vyas noted.

The American Beverage Association, an industry group that lobbies on behalf of soft drink manufacturers, echoed that point in a statement prepared in response to the study. Because of those other risk factors, “it is impossible to attribute their cardiovascular health issues to their diet beverage intake,” the group said.

The researchers say it is not clear what is causing the effects in women — whether it is something in diet drinks, or whether women who drink many diet drinks have more unhealthy habits or risk factors than women who do not.

About one in five people in the U.S. consume diet drinks on a given day, according to federal survey data.

Maggie Fox

Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.

She’s a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.

She’s reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.

Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She’s done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.

… Expand Bio

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Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.

She’s a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.

She’s reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.

Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She’s done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.

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As her relationship with the man turned from Bible study to intimacy, Flaggs said, she revealed to him that she had the disease.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But the man went to police in May 2007 and said she hadn’t disclosed her HIV status until after they’d slept together. Flaggs says that because she feared the man – who was convicted of domestic abuse-assault for hitting her two weeks before he filed his complaint, according to court documents – she didn’t challenge his story to police.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Flaggs agreed to a plea bargain rather than face the alternative: up to a quarter century in prison as mandated by a state law targeting criminal exposure to HIV. She received a 25-year suspended sentence, four years of probation and a decade on the sex offender registry. Prosecutors at the time said her accuser did not acquire HIV; the law applies whether or not victims are infected. NBC News could not reach him recently for comment.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”For Flaggs, 53, living with the disease and being on the sex offender registry has been so hard that she has contemplated suicide. “This has taken my life,” she said. “I feel like I’m in prison.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”image”,”url”:”http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_11/253846/140314-hiv-law-family-inline_e2322560072f8359052c5f3842bc22af.jpg”,”caption”:”Leslie Flaggs (at left, in black shirt) with her family before dinner in Jackson, Miss.”,”credit”:”William Widmer”,”source”:”Getty Images for NBC News”,”title”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs and family”,”alt_text”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs and family”,”width”:2500,”height”:1696},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But things may soon change for people living with HIV in Iowa: Lawmakers are debating whether to repeal the state law on criminal exposure and replace it with one that would impose more moderate sentences and would better reflect current medical understanding of how the disease is transmitted. If the legislation is approved, Iowa would be one of the first states to revise its decades-old statute that imposes criminal sentences for HIV exposure. HIV/AIDS advocates have long been fighting for such changes to the more than 30 state laws nationwide, but they’ve often met resistance.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“We’ve got to get this done this year,” said Tami Haught, of an Iowa nonprofit, Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network. She last month watched another Iowan receive a sentence similar to Flaggs’, and yet another state resident recently challenged his conviction for not disclosing his status to a partner even though he used a condom. “We can’t open up any other Iowan to this kind of prosecution when it is so unjust.””},{“type”:”blockquote”,”html”:”

“These laws reflect a severe misunderstanding about the roots, the risks and the consequences of HIV infection that are stuck in the 1980s.”

“,”class”:”pullquote”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Iowa’s current law imposes a maximum 25-year prison term regardless of whether the victim contracts the disease or whether there was intent to transmit it. The new legislation would create a tiered-sentencing system: the 25-year sentence still applies for those who aim to infect and whose victims acquire HIV, but those who did not intend to transmit the disease yet still exposed someone to it can get up to five or ten years in prison depending on whether or not their doctor told them that risk of transmission was high or low. And for the first time, those accused can seek acquittal if their doctor testifies that there was little to no chance of them passing the disease to others.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Like many other states, Iowa passed its HIV criminal transmission law after Congress approved the federal Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act in 1990. A provision of that law, which funds essential medical and support services to people with HIV, required every state to certify that its criminal laws were sufficient to prosecute any HIV-infected individual who knowingly exposed another person to the disease – even if they didn’t transmit it — at the height of the epidemic.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But with more understanding of HIV and improved drugs and care management options, the disease is no longer the death sentence it once was. And often, there is less risk of exposure. An HIV-positive person with undetectable levels of the virus in their blood — common these days thanks to treatment that was in its early stages of use and was unproven when Iowa’s law was passed — isn’t likely to transmit it to anyone else. Criminal exposure statutes should be changed to take the modern realities of living with HIV into account, advocates say.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“These laws reflect a severe misunderstanding about the roots, the risks and the consequences of HIV infection that are stuck in the 1980s despite the fact that treatment of HIV has changed dramatically,” said Catherine Hanssens, executive director of The Center for HIV Law and Policy, an advocacy group.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”It’s not just advocates who say the laws are outdated: The U.S. government’s Office of National AIDS Policy said studies show that intentional transmission is “atypical and uncommon” and has called on states to re-consider their statutes. These laws often “run counter to scientific evidence” about how the disease is transmitted and may “undermine” public health efforts to promote HIV screening and treatment, the group said in 2010.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, has weighed in, too, issuing a resolution in 2013 calling for an end to the HIV-specific statutes, noting that among the concerns it shared with the national AIDS office was that such laws can lead to the unjust imprisonment of women and young people who don’t disclose their HIV status because of fear of violence.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Most of the state laws were passed before studies showed that antiretroviral therapy reduces the risk of HIV transmission, according to a recent article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Justice Department. The laws also don’t consider effective prevention measures, such as condoms.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””Many of these laws criminalize behaviors that pose low or negligible risk for HIV transmission,” the authors said as they called for the state laws to be re-examined. The statutes could have “wide-ranging social implications,” including “the perpetuation of misinformation” regarding how the disease is acquired, said the article published in the AIDS and Behavior journal.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”image”,”url”:”http://media2.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_12/263986/140319-hiv-law-graphic_7e3ebf8102e941f70debd51d7d9512b9.jpg”,”caption”:”U.S. States with HIV-Specific Criminal Laws 1986-2011″,”credit”:”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Dept. of Justice”,”source”:””,”title”:”Image: U.S. States with HIV-Specific Criminal Laws 1986-2011″,”alt_text”:”Image: U.S. States with HIV-Specific Criminal Laws 1986-2011″,”width”:918,”height”:800},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”It’s not clear how many people have been charged under any of the state HIV criminal statutes or similar laws in two U.S. territories. Hanssens’ center has tallied 180 prosecutions from 2008 to 2013, but she cautioned that the numbers weren’t complete since there is no uniform way of counting such cases nationwide. HIV-specific criminal laws are classified as felonies in 28 states and misdemeanors in two others — Maryland and North Carolina. If convicted, prison terms vary by state: from a few years to decades.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”And most of the laws don’t require transmission of HIV – just exposure, which doesn’t have to involve sex. In many of the states, district attorneys can pursue charges for spitting, biting or blood exposure, for sharing needles, or for blood, tissue and organ donations. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says transmissions via most of these routes – except for needle sharing — are less common than sexual transmissions or are very rare (it’s also impossible to get the disease from saliva).”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Even some states without such HIV-specific statutes have used their general crime laws to prosecute people with the disease: A man was sentenced to a decade in prison after biting a police officer in upstate New York (his conviction was overturned in 2012 after a court ruled his saliva couldn’t be considered a “dangerous instrument.”)”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Officials have warned about the public health fallout of such HIV criminal laws. Randy Mayer, chief of the bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis at Iowa’s public health department, who supports updating the existing law, said a key concern is that the statute could be preventing people with HIV from seeking care out of fear “that somebody might use it against them.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“It’s very clear that in Iowa, stigma is really a problem,” said Mayer, who has observed this issue in his 14 years working with people who have HIV or AIDS. A lot of it, he added, stems from prosecuting HIV sufferers “in a way that we don’t do for any other disease.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Advocates have been working for years to get the HIV laws off the books. So far, Texas repealed its law in 1994 (though it used a general criminal statute to send a HIV-positive man away for spitting in 2008) and Illinois made some changes in 2012 to its statute that require prosecutors prove intent to transmit the disease and prohibit charges based upon biting, spitting, kissing and oral sex. At the federal level, lawmakers passed legislation in December requiring the Defense Department to study whether its current HIV and Hepatitis B policies represent medically-accurate understandings of these conditions.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But mostly, advocates say, they’ve encountered steep opposition to change at the state level. It took activists in Iowa six years to get a bill through a single chamber in the legislature – and what is currently being debated is not exactly what they’ve hoped for since the House amended what the Senate approved weeks ago. The House version only allows for felony-level charges, rather than misdemeanors, and would keep those convicted under it on the sex offender registry – unlike the Senate bill (which the state’s attorney general helped to draft). If the House version doesn’t change before passage, the two chambers will have to work out the differences.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Haught, the Iowa activist, said the hurdles are “dealing with the stigma, the stereotype, the fear and the discrimination that just automatically comes with HIV and AIDS.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“Thirty years into the epidemic, we had hoped that we would be past that,” said Haught, who has HIV. “If you have cancer, people care. If you have AIDS, people judge.””},{“type”:”blockquote”,”html”:”

“It should be a crime in all 50 states for a person infected with HIV to have sex with another person and not disclose that.”

“,”class”:”pullquote”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Iowa Rep. Chip Baltimore, who chairs the judiciary committee that approved sending the bill to the House floor, said the legislation needed to put more emphasis on the impact to victims. But he said lawmakers were trying to balance that with the culpability of the infected person and the public health concerns regarding testing and treatment.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”image”,”url”:”http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_11/253836/140314-hiv-law-drugs-inline_4623ee0cf96a5a20fce9fbd3d15ba2fb.jpg”,”caption”:”The Mississippi State Department of Health rejected Leslie Flagg’s application for HIV treatment assistance. She has been without her medication for over a week. “,”credit”:”William Widmer”,”source”:”Getty Images for NBC News”,”title”:”Image: Leslie Flagg was rejected for HIV treatment assistance”,”alt_text”:”Image: Leslie Flagg was rejected for HIV treatment assistance”,”width”:2500,”height”:1533},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“We acknowledge that the science and the medical advancements are rapidly making things much, much better,” he said, adding that the existing law was “draconian” and needed to be revised. Before the House votes on a final version, amendments can be made “and I suspect that we probably will make some,” he added.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Some prosecutors said they support criminal penalties, such as Assistant Woodbury County Attorney James Loomis, who handled Flaggs’ case. “I think it’s pretty serious when you’re engaging in that kind of behavior and you don’t advise the other person involved that you’re HIV positive,” said Loomis. “I think that a 25-year sentence is appropriate.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”The National District Attorneys Association encourages states that are re-visiting these HIV-specific laws to make them consistent with the latest medical advances, said Scott Burns, executive director. But regardless of whether or not the disease is transmitted, “it should be a crime in all 50 states for a person infected with HIV to have sex with another person and not disclose that,” he added.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Iowa’s House of Representatives has until April 22 to vote on a final bill. The governor said he will closely review the legislation if it gets to his desk.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”For those convicted under the old law, the new legislation as it is written now likely won’t help them. Flaggs would still have four more years on the sex offender registry, which has made it hard for her to find work since she must stay a certain distance away from places where kids gather, like schools. She recently moved to Mississippi, where her five adult children live, because of those restrictions – but is having trouble getting her HIV medication since the state public health department deems her too healthy to receive the drugs.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”“Sometimes I am just so miserable. I am just so tired of it,” she said of being on the registry. “I am a sex offender because I am HIV positive.””}],”summary”:”Iowa lawmakers are debating whether to replace a tough HIV criminal exposure law with one that better reflects medical understanding of how infection occurs.”,”mediaList”:null,”breaking_news”:false,”show_on_cover”:true,”ads_enabled”:true,”comments_enabled”:true,”search_enabled”:true,”native_ad”:false,”copyright”:null,”cover_art”:{“caption”:”An ex-boyfriend accused Leslie Flaggs of not telling him she was HIV positive until after they had sex, which has caused her legal complications ever since. “,”url”:”http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_11/253826/140314-hiv-law-cover_b973c986c341197229a5ac6027dbc7dc.jpg”,”credit”:”William Widmer”,”source”:”Getty Images for NBC News”,”alt_text”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs”,”width”:2500,”height”:1667,”title”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs”},”tease_art”:null,”canonical_url”:”http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sex-offenders-no-more-iowa-reconsiders-tough-law-hiv-exposure-n53081″,”short_url”:”http://nbcnews.to/1rQMflh”,”title_url_slug”:”sex-offenders-no-more-iowa-reconsiders-tough-law-hiv-exposure”,”original_canonical_url”:”http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sex-offenders-no-more-iowa-reconsiders-tough-law-hiv-exposure-n53081″,”type”:”spread”,”headline”:”Sex Offenders No More? Iowa Reconsiders Tough Law on HIV Exposure”,”headline_cover”:”Sex Offenders No More? Iowa Reconsiders HIV Law”,”headline_slug”:”sex-offenders-no-more-iowa-reconsiders-tough-law-hiv-exposure”,”bylines”:[{“type”:”Byline”,”is_vip”:false,”city”:”New York”,”facebook_page”:”https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miranda-S-Leitsinger/208652745811806″,”gplus”:null,”instagram”:null,”professional_title”:”REPORTER”,”show_or_site”:”NBC News Digital”,”twitter_handle”:”@mimileitsinger”,”email”:”[email protected]”,”bio”:”

Miranda Leitsinger is a reporter at NBC News. She started this role in February 2011. Leitsinger is responsible for long-term enterprise and breaking news coverage. Her beats include recovery from natural disasters and mass shootings, the LGBT community, income inequality, immigration and the Boy Scouts.

Leitsinger previously worked at CNN.com in Hong Kong as a digital producer, where she collaborated with the network’s television staff in Asia to produce enterprise stories for the website. Before that she worked as a reporter at The Associated Press for seven years in various cities, including New York, Miami, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Bangkok, Thailand, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. She covered the aftermath of 9/11 in Florida, the 2004 tsunami in Asia, the initial military tribunal at Guantanamo and Cambodia’s bid to recover from genocide and the ensuing decades of civil war.

Leitsinger, a San Francisco native, lives in New York.

“,”name”:”Miranda Leitsinger”,”picture”:{“credit”:”John Makely”,”caption”:”Image: Image:”,”url”:”http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_02/104141/131210-byline-miranda-leitsinger-img_0759_47688df3c387e0abfa5738e922de9507.jpg”,”width”:1500,”height”:1500}}],”first_published_utc”:”2014-03-29 22:56:30 Z”,”last_published_utc”:”2014-03-30 01:31:15 Z”,”sections”:[{“title”:”News”,”slug”:”news”}],”topics”:[{“title”:”U.S. news”,”slug”:”us-news”}],”feature”:[],”show”:[],”storyline”:[],”tags”:[],”id”:”NewsCms/Entry/53081″,”externalId”:”53081″,”externalSource”:”NewsCms”,”main_art”:{“caption”:”Leslie Flaggs in Jackson, Miss.”,”url”:”http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_11/253821/140314-hiv-law-main_8d16437da96a266dd635b152658675ce.jpg”,”credit”:”William Widmer”,”source”:”Getty Images for NBC News”,”alt_text”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs”,”width”:2500,”height”:1667,”title”:”Image: Leslie Flaggs”}},{“body”:[{“type”:”p”,”html”:”LAS VEGAS — Who will the billionaire owner of the lavish Venetian and Palazzo casinos bet on for president in 2016?”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Four potential Republican hopefuls — all governors or former governors — flocked to Sin City this week to lay their cards on hotel mogul Sheldon Adelson’s table.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Among them: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kaisch and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — fresh from a week of tough questions over an internal report that purportedly cleared him of responsibility in the scandal surrounding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”And after a spirited press conference Friday, Christie’s Saturday speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual spring meeting seemed another step toward the return of the pugnacious, pre-scandal governor.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””We cannot have a world where our friends are unsure of whether we will be with them and our enemies are unsure of whether we will be against them,” Christie told the conservative Jewish donors who had gathered in a ballroom deep in the Las Vegas Sands convention center complex.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””In New Jersey, nobody has to wonder whether I’m for them or against them.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”The audience laughed.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”image”,”url”:”http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_13/289346/140329-republican-jewish-coalition-1924_71f13260716a3c56356cbe5e7abb418d.jpg”,”caption”:” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on March 29 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Republican Jewish Coalition began its annual meeting with potential Republican presidential candidates in attendance, along with Republican super donor Sheldon Adelson. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are among the highlighted speakers. “,”credit”:”Ethan Miller”,”source”:”Getty Images”,”title”:”Image: NJ Gov. Chris Christie Speaks At Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Meeting In Vegas”,”alt_text”:”Image: NJ Gov. Chris Christie Speaks At Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Meeting In Vegas”,”width”:2500,”height”:1516},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Adelson and his wife sank more than $90 million into trying to elect a Republican candidate for president in 2012.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Much of the money went to a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich — an effort blamed for dragging out the primary process and doing damage eventual nominee Mitt Romney in the process.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”After Romney won the nod, Adelson donated millions to the cause; but in some ways the damage was already done.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”The casino owner is has not yet picked a horse in the 2016 race but — in a post-Citizens United world that allows super PACs and outside groups to take unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and unions — support is considered extremely valuable.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Saturday’s occasion was the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group Adelson backs in part to advance Israel’s interests. Not on the list of speakers for Saturday: Conservative icon Ted Cruz or libertarian Rand Paul. Paul in particular is viewed with skepticism among pro-Israel Republicans.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”At the meeting, Christie seemed to do a better job engaging with the audience than Walker, who spoke first and emphasized his ties to the Jewish community by referencing the Hebrew origin of his son’s name (Matthew) and saying he also lights a “Menorah candle” during the Christmas holiday season.”},{“type”:”blockquote”,”html”:”

“In New Jersey, nobody has to wonder whether I’m for them or against them.”

“,”class”:”pullquote”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Adelson came into the ballroom for Christie’s speech, though he was a bit late. He skipped Walker’s altogether. He was seated at Kaisch’s table for lunch.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Earlier in the week, Adelson met privately with Bush, who addressed the Coalition’s senior members at Adelson’s company airport hangar.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”Christie’s speech on Saturday amounted to an implicit critique of President Barack Obama’s approach to foreign policy and national security — the central concerns of those donors in attendance — and an argument for his own personality and style of governing.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””We no longer have a government that people around the world want to emulate,” Christie warned. “The dysfunction in Washington, D.C., is no longer being emulated around the world; it is being mocked around the world as a government that will not get out of its own way.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””In the end, we all get known and characterized for how we speak, maybe me more than some others,” Christie joked at the beginning of his speech. “If you have a particular style or approach, people get fascinated with that part of your approach. That’s fine.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”It was also a plea for party unity — a message that Adelson is said to be looking for.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””It’s time for us to stop as a party to worry about winning the argument, and focus on winning the election,” Christie said. “We have to stop killing each other. I always thought that’s what political parties were put together to do.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”widget”,”widget_type”:”inline-video”,”mpxId”:”210747971900″,”guid”:”f_christie_winning_140329″,”pubDate”:”2014-03-30 00:45:00 Z”,”expirationDate”:”9999-12-31 23:59:59 Z”,”playbackIsDisabled”:false,”availabilityState”:”available”,”title”:”Christie: ‘I’m in This Business to Win Elections’”,”description”:”New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sets the stage for a possible 2016 presidential bid with a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition focused on “,”thumbnail”:”http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/i/MSNBC/Components/Video/__NEW/f_christie_winning_140329.jpg”,”source”:”NBC News”,”sourceId”:”nnd_18424752″,”canonicalUrl”:”http://www.nbcnews.com/watch/nbc-news/christie-im-in-this-business-to-win-elections-210747971900″,”shortUrl”:”http://nbcnews.to/1pDBfDO”,”associatedPlaylistUrl”:”http://feed.theplatform.com/f/2E2eJC/nnd_21427708″,”fallbackPlaylistUrl”:”http://feed.theplatform.com/f/2E2eJC/nnd_18424752″,”mezzVersion”:”1″,”duration”:82},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But the bridge scandal has penetrated enough that Christie was asked about it during a question-and-answer session with the audience — even though the questions were pre-selected by organizers.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””I understand my obligation as a chief executive is to constantly question, and to never to be comfortable,” Christie explaining the lessons he has learned from the scandal. “And to the extent that you ever do become comfortable, you put yourself and the trust that people have given to you at risk.””},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”He also took questions about a Muslim man he nominated for a judgeship and at one point, Christie drew whispers from the crowd: He referred to Palestine as the “occupied territories,” a politically loaded description that many conservative Jews object to.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”The RJC’s meetings have historically been closed to the press, but have been opened in recent years as major politicians have addressed it. Mitt Romney addressed the gathering in 2011, before he officially announced his presidential bid.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””},{“type”:”image”,”url”:”http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_13/289396/140329-sheldon-adelson-1955_d682b64a81fa15b53c78e5a435dd1264.jpg”,”caption”:”Sheldon Adelson listens as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition, on March 29, in Las Vegas. Several possible GOP presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas as Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate, looks for a new favorite to help on the 2016 race for the White House. “,”credit”:”Julie Jacobson”,”source”:”AP”,”title”:”Image: Sheldon Adelson”,”alt_text”:”Image: Sheldon Adelson”,”width”:2500,”height”:1812},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”All the speakers focused on national security and foreign policy, particularly as it relates to Israel; former U.N. ambassador John Bolton opened the gathering and drew perhaps the loudest applause of all.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:”But it was also clear that the overarching point of the trip to Las Vegas was to make a pitch to an audience of one.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””Hey, Sheldon, thanks for inviting me,” Kaisch, the Ohio governor, said as he closed his luncheon remarks, the last of at least a half-dozen times he used addressed the mogul by first name during his speech.”},{“type”:”p”,”html”:””I don’t travel to these things much, but this was one that I thought was really, really important.””}],”summary”:”Four potential Republican hopefuls — all governors or former governors — flocked to Sin City this week to lay their cards on Sheldon Adelson’s table.”,”mediaList”:null,”breaking_news”:false,”show_on_cover”:true,”ads_enabled”:true,”comments_enabled”:true,”search_enabled”:true,”native_ad”:false,”copyright”:null,”cover_art”:null,”tease_art”:null,”canonical_url”:”http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/jeb-bush-chris-christie-court-vegas-billionaire-n67051″,”short_url”:”http://nbcnews.to/1rR1sCG”,”title_url_slug”:”jeb-bush-chris-christie-court-vegas-billionaire”,”original_canonical_url”:”http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/jeb-bush-chris-christie-court-vegas-billionaire-n67051″,”type”:”spread”,”headline”:”Jeb Bush, Chris Christie Court Vegas Billionaire “,”headline_cover”:”Jeb Bush, Chris Christie Court Vegas Billionaire “,”headline_slug”:”jeb-bush-chris-christie-court-vegas-billionaire”,”bylines”:[{“type”:”Byline”,”is_vip”:false,”city”:null,”facebook_page”:null,”gplus”:null,”instagram”:null,”professional_title”:null,”show_or_site”:null,”twitter_handle”:null,”email”:”[email protected]”,”bio”:”

Kasie Hunt has covered politics for NBC News since January 2013. Hunt came to NBC News from The Associated Press, where she served as a national political reporter. As one of the organization’s lead campaign trail reporters, Hunt covered the Republican primary field and nominee Mitt Romney, eventually following the Romney campaign nearly full time from December 2011 through election day.

Prior to joining the AP, Hunt covered the 2010 mid-term elections and the emerging GOP presidential primary race as a national political reporter for POLITICO. Earlier, she covered health care, education, and labor policy for National Journal’s CongressDaily, where she closely followed the Affordable Care Act from inception to passage. She began her journalism career as an intern with the NBC News political unit.

Hunt has appeared regularly on numerous television programs, including MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” “NOW with Alex Wagner,” and “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” as well as NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show.”

Hunt is a graduate of George Washington University and holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Cambridge, where she was a member of St John’s College.

“,”name”:”Kasie Hunt”,”picture”:null}],”first_published_utc”:”2014-03-30 00:21:46 Z”,”last_published_utc”:”2014-03-30 01:10:04 Z”,”sections”:[{“title”:”Politics”,”slug”:”politics”},{“title”:”News”,”slug”:”news”}],”topics”:[{“title”:”Politics News”,”slug”:”politics-news”},{“title”:”Elections”,”slug”:”elections”}],”feature”:[],”show”:[],”storyline”:[],”tags”:[],”id”:”NewsCms/Entry/67051″,”externalId”:”67051″,”externalSource”:”NewsCms”,”main_art”:{“caption”:”New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacts to a question during the Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 29.”,”url”:”http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_13/289351/140329-republican-jewish-coalition-1923_4fda65d4b121e78bfdd62dd4775bdcc3.jpg”,”credit”:”STEVE MARCUS”,”source”:”Las Vegas Sun via Reuters”,”alt_text”:”Image: New Jersey Governor Christie reacts to a question during the Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas”,”width”:2500,”height”:1738,”title”:”Image: New Jersey Governor Christie reacts to a question during the Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas”}}]};

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