Posts Tagged GOP

Christie Fighting To Stay In Top Tier

Chris ChristieRepublican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie cranked up efforts on Sunday to become a top-tier contender insisting he’ll qualify for the next primary debate and calling Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton a “disgrace” for recent comments about his party.

“I’ll be on that stage,” the New Jersey governor told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not worried about that at all.”

The next debate is Sept. 16 and will be hosted by CNN. The network will have a main debate for the top 10 candidates, and a secondary debate for the remaining roughly six or seven others who have at least 1 percent of the popular vote, according to an averaging of polls.

Christie on Sunday relied on his record as a two-term governor, as he has since the start of his campaign. He argued that he has vetoed more tax increases than any other governor in U.S. history and that he got elected in a Democratic-leaning state against a better-funded Democratic opponent.

“I was outspent 3-to-1,” he said. “I’ve been a political underdog for my entire career. Campaigns matter.”

Christie, who qualified for the first primary debate in August, is now ranked No. 11, according to an averaging of polls by the non-partisan website

Christie also took a big swing at Clinton for seemingly comparing members of his party to terrorists for their “extreme views” on women.

On Thursday, during a speech in Cleveland, Clinton said: “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States. Yet they espouse out-of-date, out-of-touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward, we are not going back.”

“That’s a disgrace,” Christie said, in response to Clinton’s remarks. “She’s a disgrace. … I’m not going to be somebody who lets somebody stand up and call my party terrorists.”

Christie, a former prosecutor, also said he thinks Clinton has the potential to face criminal charges for having used a private server and email accounts while secretary of state.

He questioned Clinton’s deleting some of the emails after a House committee subpoenaed them, and suggested that she mishandled government information. Clinton’s private server is now being examined by the FBI.

Christie also waved off questions about him using a private email account as governor. He said the only email released was one from a staffer that included a press release and that it was likely mistakenly sent to the wrong account.

“Can we really compare that?” Christie asked.


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Ben Carson Storms to Western Conservative Summit Straw Poll Victory

Ben CarsonBen Carson, the famed surgeon turned presidential candidate, rode his outsider message to victory on Sunday at the Western Conservative Summit straw poll sponsored by the Washington Examiner, edging out former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Taken together, the results point to the resonance of the anti-Washington message among conservative audiences, as all three candidates argued in different ways that they would shake up the DC status quo.

Carson garnered 26 percent of the 871 votes cast; Fiorina got 23 percent; Walker was at 22 percent; and Ted Cruz, at 11 percent, was the only other candidate to make it into double-digits (he didn’t speak at the conference, though his father gave a rousing talk on his behalf).

The results were especially disappointing for Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who both spoke at the conference. The attendees were heavily socially conservative, generally Huckabee and Santorum’s core supporters. But Santorum was only at two percent of the vote and Huckabee got just one percent and actually earned fewer raw votes than Donald Trump, who was also at 2 percent.

Rick Perry, who also addressed the crowd on Saturday, also attained just 2 percent.

Though Jeb Bush didn’t speak at the conference, it was noteworthy that the man who is considered a frontrunner received just four votes (as in, four people, not four percent).

“I think its too early to get behind any one candidate but its not too early to rule out candidates who represent the same old same old in politics,” said one attendee who declined to provide her last name. “People who are big money who will impose their will on people. Jeb Bush needs to be rejected by the Republican party. Fool me once shame on you, fool me thrice, it’s all done. Each time Bush has been elected it’s thwarted everything we stand for as Republicans.”

Carson has consistently done well in front of conservative audiences and boasts an impressive grassroots network on social media. Saturday night, he roamed around the stage, speaking softly and conversationally about a variety of topics that all reinforced that he was coming from outside the typical political system.

“The professional politicians say you can’t do it because you’re not a politician,” he said. “I say I can do it because I’m not a politician.”

The crowd ate it up.

Those who remembered Fiorina’s failed 2010 U.S. Senate campaign were skeptical when she announced she was running for president. But she’s continually impressed conservative audiences with her aggressive attacks on Hillary Clinton, polished delivery, and argument that her experience in private business would bring much needed change to the political system.

Walker has also done consistently well before conservative audiences when discussing his experience beating unions and other special interest groups to implement conservative reforms in Wisconsin.

“From what I’ve seen so far, Scott Walker is the only candidate with the skills to lead,” said Ladonna Lee, one attendee from Colorado. “In Wisconsin he helped the economy a lot, he helped workers. He’s the only one who really understands the Constitution.”

The poll also asked about Democratic candidates, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb was the top choice of the crowd.

Here are the full raw vote totals.

For Republicans:

Carson 224

Florina 201

Walker 192

Cruz 100

Rand Paul 34

Marco Rubio 24

Rick Perry 20

Rick Santorum 16

Donald Trump 15

Mike Huckabee 13

Bobby Jindal 9

Bill Armstrong 6 (President of Colorado Christian University)

Bush 4

Kasich 4

Christie 3

Graham 3

Romney 3

Pataki 0

For Democrats:

Webb 83

Clinton 48

Sanders 42

Biden 39

Warren 21

Omalley 17

Chafee 16

Obama 15

Reid 8

Pelosi 5

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Jeb Aims To Break Away From Republican Field With Official Launch

Jeb 2016Jeb Bush will formally launch his 2016 White House bid on Monday searching for momentum to break out of a crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination, but expecting a long battle ahead.

The 62-year-old former Florida governor will make his announcement in a 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) speech at Miami-Dade College, a school whose multicultural student population was chosen to emphasis Bush’s commitment to trying to expand the appeal of the white-dominated Republican Party.

In his speech and in subsequent campaign stops in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina this week, Bush will say he would make it a top priority to generate higher growth in the U.S. economy and create as many as 19 million jobs, according to a memo prepared by the Bush team for his supporters to use as talking points.

He will also stress the need for “a stronger American place in the world,” according to the campaign memo.

“Our enemies no longer fear us, and our friends no longer trust us. It’s time we re-engage and stand with our allies,” the memo said.

The Bush camp has also put together a video ahead of the 2016 campaign announcement, previewing a platform that focuses on the “most vulnerable in our society.”

“The barriers right now on people rising up is the great challenge of our time,” Bush said in the video. “So many people could do so much better if we fixed a few things. My core beliefs start with the premise that the most vulnerable in our society should be in the front of the line, not the back. And as governor, I had a chance to act on that core belief.”

The video, titled “Making a Difference” and scheduled to run ahead of Monday’s announcement, features several Floridians testifying to how Bush’s policies in Florida had helped them overcome various hardships: disability, domestic violence, an education gap.

“You can improve the life of people, whether it’s in the programs for the developmentally disabled, or changing our economy, or fixing our higher education system,” the former Florida governor added. “All of these things can be fixed. I am absolutely convinced of it. What we need is new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them so that people can rise up.”

Bush’s path to the nomination will be difficult. He is joining a Republican field where there are already 10 candidates who have declared their intention to run, and faces some solid competitors in Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and others.

He held an early lead in polls of Republican voters when he first began talking about a White House run six months ago, but that has now dissipated. He is essentially tied for the lead with a host of challengers. Not helping was a fumbled response to a question about the Iraq war last month.

Bush advisers say he is prepared for a long, contentious battle for the nomination. A Bush victory is by no means certain in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, the first three states to stage party nominating contests on the road to the November 2016 election.

He will need to win over those Republicans who have doubts about electing a third president named Bush after his father, George H.W. Bush, and older brother, George W. Bush.

Already he is working on differentiating himself. His political team released a new logo for his campaign, “Jeb!” and a video that stresses his record in Florida.

“Jeb is different than George,” Bush said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show on Sunday. “I don’t have to disassociate myself from my family, I love them, but I know that for me to be successful I’m going to have to show my heart and tell my story.”

The two previous Bush presidents will not be at the Monday event.

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Christie Slams Hillary Over Divisive Voting Rhetoric

AP GOP 2016 RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES A ELN USA DCNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday was among the Republicans who struck back Friday against Hillary Rodham Clinton’s suggestions that they have attempted to disenfranchise voters systematically.

They accused the Democratic presidential front-runner of running a divisive campaign and favoring lax controls on voting.

Christie, a potential GOP presidential candidate, said in Concord, New Hampshire, that Clinton didn’t know “the first thing about voting rights in New Jersey,” and simply wanted to have an opportunity to “commit greater acts of voter fraud” around the nation.

Another potential Republican rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, told Fox News that Clinton was “dividing America” and overlooking the fact that Ohio has 28 days of early voting while her home state of New York doesn’t have any. Ohio had 35 days of early voting until he signed a law last year lopping off a week.

“What is she talking about?” Kasich asked. “Don’t be running around the country dividing America.”

Clinton said Thursday in Houston that a group of current and former Republican governors pursuing the White House has “systematically and deliberately” tried to prevent millions of Americans from voting. Clinton said the changes were aimed at making it more difficult for minority and low-income voters to cast a ballot and outlined steps to expand access to early voting and allow universal, automatic voter registration for young people.

It was the first time as a presidential candidate that Clinton singled out her potential Republican rivals by name, criticizing voting policies of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Christie.

Clinton cited Christie for vetoing a bill in New Jersey to extend early voting. She said Bush had conducted a “deeply flawed” purge of eligible voters in Florida by having the names of people who were mistakenly thought to be felons removed from voting rolls.

And she accused Walker of cutting early voting, making it harder for college students to vote, while she said Perry approved laws in Texas that discriminated against minority voters.

Democratic attorneys recently filed legal challenges to voting changes in the presidential battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin. One of the attorneys involved in the lawsuits is Marc Elias, who is also serving as the Clinton campaign’s general counsel. Clinton’s campaign is not officially involved in the lawsuits.

Walker, whose state has passed voter ID laws, said in a statement late Thursday that Clinton’s “rejection of efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat not only defies logic, but the will of the majority of Americans.”

Christie vetoed legislation in 2013 that would have allowed in-person early voting at polling places and he’s criticized same-day registration. New Jersey does have a mail-in early-voting system.

Democrats contend that Republicans overstate the incidence of fraudulent voting to justify steps that depress turnout from minority and other hard-to-reach voters, many of whom would support Democratic candidates. Republicans say Democrats overlook fraud because they want those votes.

Clinton will deliver what her team considers her first major speech next week, in New York, opening a new stage of her campaign. Clinton intends to paint the large Republican field as monolithic on policy in coming months.

Her team bills the New York speech as a campaign kickoff, although she launched her candidacy in April.


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Rubio Marks Birthday With Nevada Fundraiser

Marco RubioSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) kicked off his first presidential campaign visit to the key early nominating state of Nevada on Thursday with a promise: You’re going to be seeing a lot of me.

After touring the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop with Rick Harrison, star of the TV show “Pawn Stars,” Rubio told reporters he plans to be back “quite often” as he sought to localize his “New American Century” campaign theme.

“Nevada is a state that in many ways embodies some of the challenges we have in the 21st century,” Rubio said

Rubio is the youngest 2016 candidate, though he’s just half a year younger than fellow presidential contender Texas Senator Ted Cruz, also a freshman lawmaker. But he’s 18 years Jeb Bush’s junior and more than 20 years younger than Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Harrison said during a Fox and Friends appearance that he isn’t concerned about the first term senator’s age, however.

After chatting with him over lunch in Los Angeles recently, Harrison said he was convinced that Rubio was the best candidate for the job.

‘A governor is a politician, a senator is a politician. What you need is a very strong leader,’ Harrison said. ‘Someone who’s willing to speak his mind and put the right people in charge of things and if they do a bad job, fire them.’

What impressed Harrison most about Rubio was that he didn’t mention ‘the party’ during the meeting.

‘Which was a really big deal to me,’ he said. ‘This guy honestly cares about American people and free enterprise.’

Rubio, he said, truly ‘wants to make it easier to do business. It will bring people out of poverty. It will do things for the economy, so I’m behind him.’

The Democratic National Committee mocked the union of Rubio and the Pawn Stars clan with a series of graphics depicting ‘Mario Rubio’s Pawn Shop.’

‘This is a fitting theme for Mr. Rubio, as his entire campaign is pawning off old, failed GOP ideas as new,’  it said in a blog post.

It hit him for backing ‘the old, rejected GOP policy of ending Medicare as we know it,’ opposing comprehensive immigration reform, ‘marriage equality’ and so-called equal pay for equal work legislation.

‘Dusting off these old ideas and trying to pawn himself off as something new isn’t going to work,’ it said.

Rubio, notably, does support comprehensive immigration reform and was a sponsor of the bipartisan Senate bill formed by a group of lawmakers known as the Gang of 8.

He’s since said that he’d be open to a piecemeal approach that also shuts down a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants if that’s what it takes to get legislation passed – but that’s not his preferred option.

‘I still believe we need to do immigration reform,’ he said earlier this month during a Fox News appearance. ‘The problem is we can’t do it in one big piece of legislation.’

That’s because ‘the votes aren’t there’ in the House of Representatives, he explained.

Harrison’s support could give Rubio a boost in Nevada, a state that is important to both the nomination process and the general election.

He also has the backing of the state’s Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. Hutchison, the campaign has already announced, will serve as state chair of his campaign there.

But Rubio has other, familial ties to the state, as well, that may help him.

Rubio’s family lived in Las Vegas for a six-year stretch during his formative years before ultimately returning to Florida, the state the U.S. Senator still calls home.

Politics runs in his family’s blood. His cousin, Mo Denis, is a state senator in Nevada.

Though, he and Rubio come from the same family tree, they do not share the same political beliefs. Denis is a staunch Democrat.

When his cousin Marco came to town in 2012 to headline a fundraiser for that year’s GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, Denis parked himself outside and gave a rebuttal speech.

Rubio’s walk down memory lane won’t end with his birthday party today at Harrison’s pad tonight.

He’ll talk to tech startups tomorrow morning at Nevada’s Switch Innevation Center and meet with GOP activists in the afternoon in Reno at the home of Kim Bacchus, a registered lobbyist and the chair of the Washoe County Republican Women’s Club.


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Former Senator Rick Santorum Launches Second Presidential Bid

Rick santorum 2Republican Rick Santorum, who fell short in his 2012 presidential bid, launched another run for the White House on Wednesday with a promise to restore the economic power of middle-class American workers.

Santorum, 57, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, emphasized his working-class roots as he formally opened his long-shot 2016 presidential bid near his childhood home in Cabot, in western Pennsylvania.

Looking to build support beyond the social and religious conservatives who bolstered his 2012 campaign, Santorum said “big government” and “big business” had left behind American workers.

“Today is the day we are going to begin to fight back,” he said. “As middle America’s hollowing out we can’t sit idly by. Working families don’t need another president tied to big government or big money.”

Santorum promised to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, back a flat tax and crack down on illegal immigration that he says has robbed jobs from American workers. He also vowed to cut federal spending and revoke “every executive order and regulation that costs Americans jobs.”

In the 2012 race, Santorum won Iowa’s kickoff contest and 10 other state contests with strong support from voters drawn to his social and religious conservatism and wary of the more business-oriented Mitt Romney.

Santorum outlasted other White House hopefuls to become the last remaining challenger to Romney, who ultimately captured the 2012 Republican nomination.

Santorum, whose support has languished in the low single digits in most polls ahead of the 2016 race, faces a stronger and potentially tougher field of Republican hopefuls this time.

He is the seventh Republican to formally declare a bid for the nomination, more than a year ahead of the November 2016 presidential election, joining a group that includes U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Other Republicans expected to jump into the race include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Santorum will face competition for Christian conservative voters, who helped propel his 2012 bid, from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Cruz and others, while his low poll ratings raise the possibility that he could be excluded from the early Republican debates, which begin in August.

At his launch event, Mr. Santorum pledged to restore the manufacturing industry, to create more jobs for American workers and to restore the U.S.’s global standing. Of the extremist group Islamic State, he said, “They know who I am and I know who they are,” and said as president he would defeat the group.

He also promised to shrink the size of government, saying the U.S. “doesn’t need another president tied to big government or big money.”

“I know what it’s like to be an underdog,” Santorum said, adding he managed to win 11 state nominating contests because “I stand for someone, the American worker.”

“The last race, we changed the debate. This race, with your help and God’s grace, we can change the nation,” he said.

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Christie Sets Out Foreign Policy Vision

Christie PolicyNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie laid out a hawkish foreign policy vision in a wide-ranging speech on Monday, calling for an expanded military and pushing back against critics of government surveillance programs.

The speech, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, highlighted one of Christie’s biggest weaknesses as he moves toward an expected presidential run his lack of foreign policy experience. Christie has touted his career as a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey handling terrorism cases as part of his national security experience, but his foreign policy resume remains one of the thinner in the ever-growing Republican presidential field.

To counteract that deficit of experience, Christie took aim at politicians who talk about American exceptionalism as a “punchline in a speech that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.”

“But American exceptionalism isn’t a punchline  it’s a set of principles,” he said, according to prepared remarks.

Christie also advocated for active American engagement in global conflicts, declaring that “we have never ignored the crises in the world around us.”

“Because throughout history, leaders in both parties have based our foreign policy on these principles — strength, leadership and partnership with the people and nations who share our values. And it’s served the world and us pretty well,” he said.

And Christie called for Congress to reverse sequestration cuts to the military imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, to “give our men and women in uniform the resources they need to get the job done.” He went on to lay out, in hard numbers, increases to the military to improve readiness.

He also took aim at “civil liberties extremists” who seek to rein in government surveillance programs, a veiled jab at Sen. Rand Paul, another GOP presidential contender who’s been an outspoken critic of NSA surveillance.

“Too often, the loudest voices in the debate about how to keep our country safe are driven by some purist, theoretical vision of how we should manage our intelligence efforts,” Christie said.

“When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their own narrow agenda.”

He also decried fears over government surveillance he says are created by Hollywood, and declared: “When it comes to fighting terrorism, our government is not the enemy.”

And Christie criticized Obama’s developing nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “flimsy” and raising doubts about the U.S.’s ability to ensure Iran complies with requirements in the deal. He also framed capitulating to Iran as potentially causing a domino effect that could ripple throughout the Middle East: “The deal as structured will lead to a nuclear Iran and, then, a nuclearized Middle East,” Christie said.

Last week’s Camp David snub from Saudi King Salman was an “embarrassment,” according to Christie, and the U.S.’s refusal to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran could cause further ruptures in the Middle East.

“Our allies want policies, not photo ops, and we’re not listening to them. And as we fail to confront Iran’s shadowy nuclear program and undisguised quest for regional power, we raise the likelihood of states taking unilateral actions or seeking extreme solutions,” Christie said.

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