Posts Tagged American politics

Christie & Fiorina Drop Out of GOP Presidential Race

Christie & FiornaTwo more Republicans have ended their White House runs, whittling down the field as the party’s remaining candidates and Democrat Hillary Clinton look to blunt the momentum of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders down south.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina both called time on their presidential bids, one day after finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in the New Hampshire primary.

Trump and Sanders two political outsiders with vastly different ideologies, but who have a common campaign credo of speaking what they say is truth to power, served notice in the Granite State on Tuesday with their resounding victories.

Sanders almost doubled Clinton’s tally and Trump bested second place Ohio Governor John Kasich by almost 20 percentage points.

Both results shocked the party establishments, virtually guaranteeing bitter and drawn-out races for the Democratic and Republican nominations.

New Hampshire was the second stop in the months-long process to choose the two candidates who will vie to succeed President Barack Obama on Election Day, November 8.

“I leave the race without an ounce of regret,” Christie said in a Facebook post, noting that while his message had been heard by many, it was “just not enough and that’s ok.”

Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican field, said she would “continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”

So where do the other candidates go from here? South Carolina and Nevada, where both parties will stage nominating contests before month’s end.

The upcoming votes will be crucial for Clinton, the former secretary of state who admitted in an uneasy concession speech that she had “some work to do, particularly with young people,” to revitalize her campaign.

Clinton is seen as enjoying strong support among black voters and Sanders, realizing the need to boost his standing with African Americans, met Wednesday with prominent civil rights activist Al Sharpton in New York.

“My concern is that in January of next year, for the first time in American history, a black family will be moving out of the White House,” Sharpton said.

“I do not want black concerns to be moved out with them.”

Clinton said she recognized the American electorate’s fury with establishment politics.

“People have every right to be angry,” she said. “But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions.”

Sanders has signaled he is in the race to win and expects the coming weeks to be even more closely fought. The next battle is in Nevada on February 20, followed by South Carolina.

“They’re throwing everything at me except the kitchen sink, and I have the feeling that kitchen sink is coming pretty soon,” he said in a buoyant victory speech.

Beefing up his ability to take the fight to Clinton for the long term, the Sanders camp announced he raised $5.2 million in the 18 hours following his New Hampshire win.

For now, he reigns supreme with young voters: Clinton received just 16 percent of the vote among people under 29, according to New Hampshire exit polls.

If the Democratic race is poised to take a more confrontational turn, then Republicans are set for all out internecine warfare.

Trump’s visceral assault on American politics brought him his debut victory after a second-place showing in last week’s Iowa caucuses.

It was a must win for Trump, after his embarrassing performance in the Hawkeye State called into question his frontrunner status and brand as a winner.

But similar levels of support for Kasich, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush left the field in turmoil. The last remaining candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, finished farther off the pace.

Now the fight moves to South Carolina, a state with a lingering reputation for bare-knuckle campaign tactics.

Even before the candidates arrived, the state’s airwaves were being flooded with negative attack ads, with each man hoping to emerge as the mainstream answer to Trump.

“They’ve written me off in this campaign, over and over again,” Bush told supporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, arguing that his campaign got a new lease on life even though he finished fourth up north.



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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Quits GOP Presidential Race

bobby jindalLouisiana governor Bobby Jindal is quitting next year’s race to be US president, ending a campaign that failed to gain much support among Republicans.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday announced he was ending his campaign for president.

“This is not my time,” Jindal told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time. So I’ve come here to announce that I am suspending my campaign for president of the United States.”

Jindal, 44, was once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party and a strong contender for the White House. The Brown University graduate and Rhodes Scholar was viewed as a strong voice for a Republican Party looking to reach out to minorities and broaden its base.

He rose to prominence at the start of President Barack Obama’s first term and was given a major spot delivering the Republican Party’s rebuttal to the State of the Union address in 2009, but delivered a widely-panned performance.

Jindal’s presidential campaign never gained traction as he, along with other establishment Republican candidates, fell victim to the GOP’s desire for outsider candidates such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have never held public office.

He never topped 2% in any CNN/ORC poll and never advanced past the “undercard” round at the Republican debates held thus far.

A top adviser to Jindal told CNN he may endorse one of his former Republican rivals. But if he does, it will not be imminent.

He has a respectable following among some Iowa conservative activists, the product of spending years planning a presidential run.

He is the latest governor to drop out of the race, following Scott Walker and Rick Perry. One adviser said Jindal believes government experience is needed in a presidential candidate, so he is more likely to back Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio than Trump or Carson, the two leading candidates in the race.

Jindal reached his decision, two aides said, because he didn’t want to go into debt and realized there was no credible path to the nomination.

As he left the Fox News studio in Washington Tuesday night, a CNN reporter asked Jindal about who would be the Republican nominee.

“It’s not going to be Trump,” Jindal said. “It’ll be somebody else.”

Elsewhere D r. Ben Carson was facing new questions about his foreign policy capabilities.

One of his closest advisers, Armstrong Williams, said Carson was having intense briefing sessions with former US State Department and military officials, but admitted the retired neurosurgeon sometimes struggled to explain foreign affairs on the campaign trail.

The New York Times published a story quoting one of Carson’s advisers saying the candidate had trouble grasping the complexities of the Middle East.

Former CIA agent Duane Clarridge told the newspaper Mr Carson needed briefings so “we can make him smart”.

The Carson campaign hit back at Mr Clarridge, describing him as “an elderly gentleman” who was not among Carson’s inner circle.


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Carson Continues to Hit Back Against Media Attacks

Ben carsonBen Carson continued to push back against the mainstream media as he criticized recent scrutiny of his descriptions about his youth.

The retired neurosurgeon and Republican presidential contender insisted at a political rally and on three Sunday morning news shows that reports about his claims about a violent youth, a Politico report about a scholarship offer to West Point and a story about a Yale class are actually helping his campaign.

Speaking to reporters after a political rally in Puerto Rico Sunday morning, Carson pushed back on the notion that the scrutiny on his past is “getting under his skin,” but then launched into an angry and mocking critique of the media coverage this week.

“It’s not particularly getting under my skin, obviously it’s helping me,” said Carson, who on Saturday thanked a “ biased media” for helping him fundraise $3.5 million last week. “But I simply cannot sit still and watch unfairness. I am always going to call that out when I see it.”

“Obviously, the Politico thing was a hit job, no question about that,” Carson said in Puerto Rico. “The kind of investigations that were done, talking to the wrong people. Not going to Wilson Junior High School where the lock incident occurred. But talking to other people and saying, ‘See we can’t find them,’ I mean this is just stupid, and I mean if our media is no better than investigating than that, it’s sick. The Wall Street Journal thing coming out and saying ‘there’s no such course, obviously this is all fabricated’ how come with all their tools they can’t find it, but we can? That doesn’t make any sense, does it?”

He added: “The burden of proof is not going to be on me to corroborate everything I have ever talked about in my life, because once I start down that road, from now until the election, you’re going to be spending your time doing that and we have much more important things to do,” Carson said. “You’re asking me about something that occurred 50 years ago. And you expect me to have the details about that? Forget about it. It’s not going to happen.”

Carson also appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’ “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” to rebut the reports.

“People are seeing through exactly what’s going on, and they’re getting fired up,” Carson said on “Meet the Press.” “It’s almost an us-versus-them thing. And every place I go, you know I go to a book signing, there’s a thousand people in line, ‘Please don’t let them get to you. Don’t give up. We got your back. We know what’s going on. We believe you.'”

Responding to Politico’s report about being offered a scholarship to West Point, Carson said on “Face the Nation” that he’d been referring to a conversation with military brass who were impressed by his academic and ROTC achievements and said they could get him into the military academy which does not charge tuition.

“They were very impressed with my incredible rise to city executive officer faster than anyone had ever done that before, and said that, you know, ‘Well, we would be able to get you a full scholarship to West Point,'” Carson said.

“And I said, ‘That’s wonderful,'” he continued. “And I was very flattered by that. But I had already determined that I was going to go on to college and on to medical school. So, you know, that’s what happened. And that’s why I said I was offered that.”

He also said his campaign had successfully dug up a photo published in Yale’s student newspaper that The Wall Street Journal said it couldn’t find and said his campaign would release it soon, verifying an anecdote about a psychology class Carson attended. He did, however, admit he and his co-author had made up the psychology class’s number and name.

“Why could we find it and they could not find it?” Carson asked. “And why do people put this stuff out there to make the accusation to try to make somebody seem dishonest, and then when it is disproven, ‘Oh, well, let’s talk about this. Oh, well, you said this when you were in kindergarten.’ Give me a break. I mean, there’s so many important things that need to be talked about.”

He said the reporters who have scrutinized his past would make minor mistakes when recalling the events of four or five decades before.

“Show me somebody even from your business, the media who is 100 percent accurate in everything that they say that happened 40 or 50 years ago,” Carson said on “This Week.” “Please show me that person. I will sit at their knee and I will learn from them.”




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Biden Decides Not to Seek Democratic Party Presidential Nomination

Job Biden Rose Garden
Vice President Joe Biden won’t seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, ending months of deliberation and speculation and left the path open for Hillary Clinton.

The long process of grieving over the death of his son Beau has closed the window on any chance of mounting a presidential campaign, Biden said in a hastily arranged announcement Wednesday from the White House Rose Garden. President Barack Obama and Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, stood at his side.

“I couldn’t do this if the family wasn’t ready. The good news is the family has reached that point,” Biden said. “Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.”

Biden made the decision last night following months of deliberation and consultations with a close circle of advisers, according to a person close to the vice president. His announcement clarifies the choice before the party’s voters even as Clinton faces a challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and two other Democrats who are trying to position themselves as an alternative to the former secretary of state.

Clinton called Biden after the vice president’s announcement at the White House, her spokesman said, and in a statement, she called Biden “a good man and a great vice president.”

At 72, Biden has likely run his last campaign for elected office. He may be considered for secretary of state or other presidential nominations or appointments should Democrats prevail in next year’s general election. Biden served as a U.S. senator for 36 years and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 and 2008 before becoming Obama’s running mate.

He said he would continue to advocate for his policy priorities in the 2016 race, including limiting the influence of wealthy people in campaigns, reducing higher-education costs, bolstering middle-income families and reworking the tax code.

“I will not be silent,” Biden said Wednesday. “I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence, as much as I can, where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”

On the eve of his announcement, Biden spent the day at a tribute to former Vice President Walter Mondale and had a private lunch with Obama. At the tribute, he praised Mondale and former President Jimmy Carter for empowering the vice presidency and turning it into more of a partnership and casting his own relationship with Obama in those terms.

As he has at other recent events, Biden sought to frame his legacy and try to set some terms for the Democratic race. During a panel discussion, Biden recast how he counseled Obama about the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He said he wasn’t against the strike, as Clinton and even Biden himself had previously suggested. Instead, he said Tuesday that had sought to buy Obama time and space to decide while privately supporting a raid.

Biden spoke repeatedly about how close he and Obama are and how no other Cabinet official had the same bond. And he emphasized his view that any Democrat who considers Republicans to be the enemy is naive, an indirect jab at Clinton who said at last week’s Democratic debate that she considered Republicans among her enemies.

Looking ahead to the campaign, Biden said the Democratic nominee should carry the banner of the Obama presidency into the general election.

“This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy,” Biden said in the Rose Garden. “Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record, they should run on this record.”

Biden always left open the possibility of running in 2016 when Obama’s second term was up. The vice president saw his eldest child, Beau, a military veteran who served as Delaware’s attorney general and planned to run for governor, as the successor to his political legacy and a future presidential contender.

Biden said today that he would spend the remainder of his vice presidency pressing for legislation “to end cancer as we know it today.” “I know there are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who share our passion to silence this deadly disease,” he said. “If I could be anything, I would have wanted to have been the president who ended cancer, because it’s possible.”

Biden and his aides were confident he was better poised for a presidential bid after seven years as Obama’s understudy than in his two previous attempts, and felt that he better represented Democratic Party ideals than Clinton and could be less divisive in a general election. But was Biden emotionally ready for the toll of a campaign?

“Its obvious to me that the pain is very deep within him,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said in an interview at the Capitol shortly after Biden’s announcement. “I think he did the right thing.”

Biden was up against societal forces of change and a hunger in the Democratic Party for the first woman president to follow the first black president. He also faced a formidable opponent in Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, who was amassing talented operatives, major donors and an organizational structure as Biden focused on and later grieved for his son.

Nor did there seem to be a hunger among voters for Biden to enter the race. In a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll, Biden placed a distant third behind Clinton and Sanders.

Biden lacked a strong base of support in Iowa, the first caucus state and the place where his 2008 bid died. If he were to run, his success would hinge on winning South Carolina. Even then, his path likely would have required sizable portions of the Democratic establishment to abandon Clinton.

Biden’s third place showing in most polls has “more to do with how strong her and Bernie’s hold is on their voters,” said Joe Trippi, a chief strategist for Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean in 2004 and John Edwards in 2008. That, he added, would have made it harder for Biden to go on the attack against his potential rivals.

“He’s going to go out at an all-time high, and everybody’s heart is with him all the way,” Feinstein said.

“To a great extent the die is cast” in the Democratic nomination, she added. “It’s one thing if our nominee or if Hillary, for example, were going down. She isn’t, she’s going up.”

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Trump and Carson Threaten to Boycott CNBC Debate

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson are threatening to boycott the next GOP debate over its proposed format, underscoring a rare political alliance between the leading outsider candidates.

In a joint letter to CNBC’s Washington bureau chief Thursday, the billionaire businessman and retired neurosurgeon told the hosting network they will not appear at the Oct. 28 debate unless it’s capped at two hours with commercials and the candidates are allowed to speak directly to the camera at its opening and close.

Ed Brookover, a senior Carson campaign strategist, said the campaigns were caught off-guard when CNBC sent them an email Wednesday outlining debate rules that the candidates had not agreed to. The agenda included two hours of debate time plus four commercial breaks and no opening or closing statements.

“We thought that the only way to make sure that candidates are heard early and late was not to rely on the moderators,” he said, referring to the push for opening and closing statements.

The letter came after a heated call between the campaigns and the Republican National Committee over the debate’s format.

Neither Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski nor Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks immediately responded to requests for comment. But Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to express his anger.

“The @GOP should not agree to the ridiculous debate terms that @CNBC is asking unless there is a major benefit to the party,” he said. He accused the network of trying to lengthen the debate in order to sell more ads. Trump has complained often about the second debate, hosted by CNN, which stretched on for a marathon three hours.

CNBC spokesman Brian Steel said in a statement that the network was aiming to host “the most substantive debate possible,” but was open to changing the format.

“Our practice in the past has been to forego opening statements to allow more time to address the critical issues that matter most to the American people,” he said. “We started a dialogue yesterday with all of the campaigns involved and we will certainly take the candidates’ views on the format into consideration as we finalize the debate structure.”

Trump and Carson have developed a unique rapport, with little fighting between the two despite the fact that Carson has been gaining on Trump in opinion polls.

The topic of debates has been a contentious one throughout the campaign, with both Democrats and Republicans sparring over who is included on stage and how much time they’re allotted.

During the first Democratic debate this week, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb complained repeatedly about how little time he had to answer questions. He said Thursday he felt the debate had been “rigged in terms of who was going to get the time on the floor.”


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Trump’s Lead Narrows in Early Voting States

Donald T rump PollsPolls released Sunday morning show real estate mogul Donald Trump holding his leads in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, although those leads are smaller than one more ago.

Trump leads former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina among potential New Hampshire GOP primary voters by just 5 points, 21 to 16 percent, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist pollsters.

Trump and Fiorina are trailed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 11 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 10 percent apiece.

In September, Trump led Ohio Gov. John Kasich, his closest competitor at the time in New Hampshire, by 16 points, 28 to 12 percent.

In Iowa, Trump now leads Carson by 5 points, 24 to 19 percent. Fiorina follows with 8 percent, Bush with 7 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with 6 percent each.

One month ago, Trump led Carson by 7 points in the Hawkeye State, 29 to 22 percent.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton maintains her lead among potential Iowa Democratic caucus-goers and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.) is still the leader among potential New Hampshire Democratic primary voters.

Clinton leads Sanders by 11 points, 47 to 36 percent in Iowa. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has 4 percent. Clinton’s lead in the Hawkeye State is only 5 points when Vice President Joe Biden is added to the field, however.

Sanders leads Clinton by 9 points, 48 percent to 39 percent, in New Hampshire in results that are virtually unchanged from a month ago. Biden gets 18 percent when added to the equation, while support for Sanders falls to 42 percent and Clinton gets 28 percent.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist polls were conducted Sept. 23-30. They have a 4.7 percent margin of error for potential Iowa GOP caucus-goers and a 5.3 percent margin of error for Democrats. In New Hampshire, their margin of error is 4.6 percent for potential GOP primary voters and 4.9 percent for Democrats.


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Donald Trump makes stop in Tennessee & talks gun laws

TrumpAs the seemingly endless debate on gun control rages in the country in the wake of yet another mass shooting, GOP front-runner Donald Trump took the stage in Franklin, Tennessee, on Saturday and made his thoughts clear in front of a raucous crowd.

Trump said he was a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment and that any gun legislation that emerges as a result of mass shootings in the U.S. should be limited to addressing mental health.

He went as far as to imply that if teachers were armed at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, where nine people were killed on Thursday, the campus “would have been a hell of a lot better off.”

“The Second Amendment of our Constitution is clear,” Trump said, reading from his second policy paper on gun rights. “Every time something happens, they don’t blame mental illness, that our mental healthcare is out of whack and all of the other problems. And by the way, it was a gun-free zone. I will tell you, if you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off.”

2016 presidential candidates are handling the latest mass shooting under a familiar microscope – and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may have stumbled in South Carolina. Trump criticized Bush for his “  stuff happens” comment, where Bush was referring to how governments should respond to crises.

On Friday, Bush said, “I had this challenge as governor, ’cause we had look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

“I thought it was a very bad word,” Trump said. “He used the words ‘stuff happens’ – I thought it was a very bad phrase to use. I actually was watching that and I thought, ‘Wow, he certainly has taken heat.’ I thought it was certainly an inappropriate phrase.”

However, later in the press conference, Trump expressed similar sentiments when asked how mass gun shootings could be stopped.

“No matter what you do you will always have problems,” Trump said. “That’s why people are watching the news. There’s always going to be problems. There’s always going to be horrible things happening. And that’s not necessarily politically correct. There will be problems in the world – that’s the way it is. I think we can make a big dent with mental health. If we can solve a big chunk of the mental health problem in this country, that would be so fantastic.”

The speech also featured the color verbiage that his rallies have become synonymous with. When discussing foreign policy, Trump said Iraq had become the “Harvard University for terrorists.” For the first time, Trump endorsed a safe zone in Syria for migrants but once again reiterated that they shouldn’t be allowed in the United States. He went on to say the migrants could be a “Trojan horse” for ISIS.

The latest Trump rally took place at The Factory at Franklin, which was built in 1929 for manufacturing. At one point, it made high-end mattresses and sofas before sitting dormant for seven years. It was eventually refurbished into a cultural touchstone, serving as the concert venue, theater and a vibrant farmer’s market it is today.

The rally was packed with supporters, as chants of “America loves Trump!” rang out from the audience of about 1,500. Hundreds more waited outside in the rain even though they couldn’t get inside. Trump briefly addressed the overflow crowd afterwards to loud applause.

“Donald Trump is my hero so I’d do anything for Donald Trump,” said 26-year-old firefighter Bradley Herring. Herring drove nearly ten hours from Raleigh, North Carolina to see Trump.

“He’s a businessman, he’s rich,” Herring said. “If he can build a billionaire empire, he can build a rich country. ”

Before Trump took the stage, conservative stalwart Rep. Marsha Blackburn took the stage, making her the second high-profile elected official to speak at a Trump rally. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions briefly spoke at Trump’s event in Mobile, Alabama. Blackburn railed against illegal immigration and Planned Parenthood before welcoming Trump to Tennessee.




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