Posts Tagged Jeb Bush

Trump and Clinton Scores Impressive Wins in South Carolina

Trump and ClintonDonald Trump scored a resounding victory in South Carolina’s Republican primary Saturday, deepening his hold on the GOP presidential field as the race headed into the South. “Let’s put this thing away,” he shouted to cheering supporters.

Out West, Hillary Clinton pulled out a crucial win over Bernie Sanders in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses, easing the rising anxieties of her backers. At a raucous victory rally in Las Vegas, she lavished praise on her supporters and declared, “This one is for you.”

The victories put Clinton and Trump in strong positions as the 2016 presidential election advanced toward the March 1 Super Tuesday contests, a delegate-rich voting bonanza. But South Carolina marked the end for Jeb Bush, the one-time Republican front-runner and member of a prominent political family, who withdrew from the race.

“I firmly believe the American people must entrust this office to someone who understands that whoever holds it is a servant, not the master,” Bush told supporters in an emotional speech.

South Carolina marked Trump’s second straight victory this one by 10 points and strengthened his unexpected claim on the GOP nomination. No Republican in recent times has won New Hampshire and South Carolina and then failed to win the nomination.

“There’s nothing easy about running for president,” Trump said at his victory rally. “It’s tough, it’s nasty, it’s mean, it’s vicious. It’s beautiful when you win it’s beautiful.”

Marco Rubio edged out Ted Cruz for second place, according to complete but unofficial results. Bush and others lagged far behind.

“This has become a three-person race,” Rubio declared.

Cruz harked back to his win in the leadoff Iowa caucuses as a sign he was best positioned to take down Trump. He urged conservatives to rally around his campaign, saying pointedly, “We are the only candidate who has beaten and can beat Donald Trump.”

For both parties, the 2016 election has laid bare voters’ anger with the political establishment. The public mood has upended the usual political order, giving Sanders and Trump openings while leaving more traditional candidates scrambling to find their footing.

Trump’s victory comes after a week in which he threatened to sue one rival, accused former President George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq war and even tussled with Pope Francis on immigration. His victory was another sign that the conventional rules of politics often don’t apply to the brash billionaire.

He was backed by nearly 4 in 10 of those who were angry at the federal government, and a third of those who felt betrayed by politicians in the Republican Party.

For Cruz, despite his confident words, South Carolina must have been something of a disappointment. The state was his first test of whether his expensive, sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation could overtake Trump in a Southern state, where the electorate seemed tailor-made for the Texas senator.

Florida’s Rubio used his top-tier finish to bill himself as the mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, candidates many GOP leaders believe are unelectable in November.

South Carolina was the final disappointment for Bush, who campaigned alongside members of his famous family, which remains popular in the state. Though he was once considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, new fundraising reports out Saturday showed that donations to his super PAC had largely stalled.

Also in the mix was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had low expectations in South Carolina and was looking toward more moderate states that vote later in March. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson vowed to stay in the race, despite a single-digit showing.

The crowded Republican contest was a contrast to the head-to-head face-off among Democrats. Clinton has emerged as a favorite of those seeking an experienced political hand, while Sanders is attracting young voters and others drawn to his call of a political and economic revolution.

The Nevada results highlighted Clinton’s strength with black voters, a crucial Democratic electorate in the next contest in South Carolina, as well as several Super Tuesday states. The Hispanic vote was closely divided between Sanders and Clinton.

According to the entrance polls, Clinton was backed by a majority of women, college-educated voters, those with annual incomes over $100,000, moderates, voters aged 45 and older and non-white voters. Sanders did best with men, voters under 45 and those less affluent and educated.

The former secretary of state captured the backing of voters who said electability and experience were important. But in a continuing sign of her vulnerability, Sanders did best with voters looking for a candidate who is caring and honest.

Sanders congratulated Clinton on her victory, but then declared that “the wind is at our backs. We have the momentum.” With a vast network of small donors, Sanders has the financial resources to stay in the race for months.

Clinton’s win means she will pick up at least 19 of Nevada’s 35 delegates. She already holds a sizeable lead in the delegate count based largely on her support from superdelegates, the party leaders who can support the candidate of their choice, no matter the primaries and caucuses.

Trump won a majority of the delegates in South Carolina and he had a chance to win them all. With votes still being tabulated, he was projected to win at least 38 of the 50 at stake.

Democrats and Republicans will swap locations in the coming days. The GOP holds its caucus in Nevada on Tuesday, while Democrats face off in South Carolina on Feb. 27.

 

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Pope Francis Question’s Trump’s Faith

Pope-Francis-L-and-Donald-Trump-AP-Photos-640x480 (1)After visiting the US-Mexico border, Pope Francis on Thursday responded to a question about Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the two countries by saying that “this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”

Francis added that he would give Trump “the benefit of the doubt,” given that he did not know details of the Republican presidential candidate’s plan to build a border wall. Though the pope was asked specifically about Trump’s plan during his visit to Mexico, the businessman is not the only GOP candidate who has called for a wall to secure the US border. Both Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have said that they support a similar plan.

Trump quickly responded to Francis’s remarks with his usual bombast, warning of a potential attack on the Vatican.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened,” Trump said in a statement.

But rather than criticize Pope Francis directly for his remarks, Trump suggested that the pontiff was being misinformed by the Mexican government “because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them.”

Trump added, however, that he thought it was “disgraceful” for a religious leader “to question a person’s faith,” noting that he is “proud to be a Christian.”

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so,” he said in apparent reference to the Mexican government, “especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, took the real-estate mogul’s side in the spat with the Vatican.

When asked by CNN on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” about the Pope’s remarks, Rubio gave a lengthy defense of the United States as the “most compassionate and open country in the world on legal immigration,” and defended the government’s right to implement and enforce immigration laws as it sees fit.

“I think the Holy Father recognizes or should recognize and I believe he does how generous America is,” Rubio said. “We accept, every year, close to a million or over a million people every year as permanent residents of the United States. No other country even comes close.”

Republican rival, Jeb Bush, a devout Catholic, who came to Trump’s defense.

“I think his Christianity is between he and his creator don’t think we need to discuss that,” Bush told reporters on Thursday in Columbia. The defense of his spiritual life did not extend to his political life, though. “As it relates to his policies related to ISIS, he’s not the right guy to be commander-in-chief,” Bush added.

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Jeb Finally Embraces Bush Name in Last-Ditch Bid to Save Campaign

JebGeorge W. Bush won a bruising South Carolina presidential primary on his way to the Oval Office, as his father did before him.

Now it’s his brother’s turn, and for Jeb Bush, the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his brother’s tenure are suddenly front-and-center in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination thanks to Donald Trump.

The 43rd president already had announced plans to campaign for his younger brother Monday in South Carolina, marking his most direct entry into the 2016 race to date, when Trump, the GOP front-runner, used the final debate before the state’s Feb. 20 primary as an opportunity to excoriate George W. Bush’s performance as commander in chief.

The former president, Trump said, ignored “the advice of his CIA” and “destabilized the Middle East” by invading Iraq on dubious claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

“I want to tell you: They lied,” Trump said. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction. … And they knew there were none.”

Trump dismissed Jeb Bush’s suggestion that George W. Bush built a “security apparatus to keep us safe” after the 9/11 attacks.

“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign,” Trump said, adding: “That’s not keeping us safe.”

The onslaught “blood sport” for Trump, Jeb said was the latest example of the billionaire businessman’s penchant for mocking his rival as a weak, privileged instrument of the Republican Party establishment.

But the exchange also highlighted the former Florida governor’s embrace of his family name as he jockeys with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to emerge from South Carolina as the clear challenger to Trump, who won the New Hampshire primary, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the victor in Iowa’s caucuses.

The approach takes away from Bush’s months-long insistence that he’s running as “my own man,” but could be a perfect fit for South Carolina. “The Bush name is golden in my state,” says South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who ended his White House run in December and endorsed Jeb Bush in January.

George W. Bush retains wide appeal among Republicans, from evangelicals and business leaders to military veterans. All are prominent in South Carolina, with Bush campaign aide Brett Doster going so far as to say that George W. Bush is “the most popular Republican alive.”

After the debate, some Republicans again suggested Trump had gone too far. Bush wasn’t alone on stage leaping to his brother’s defense, with Rubio coming back to the moment to say, “I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.”

The attack on George W. Bush carries risk for Trump, given the Bush family’s long social and political ties in South Carolina and the state’s hawkish national security bent, bolstered by more than a half-dozen military installations and a sizable population of veterans who choose to retire in the state.

Bush and his backers certainly hope it’s the case. Right to Rise USA, a super political action committee backing Bush, is airing two television ads blasting Trump and touting Bush for taking him on, and on Friday, a committee spokesman says, a radio ad will launch that compiles multiple audio clips of Trump using profanity in public settings, most recently when he used an uncouth epithet about Cruz.

“The time is now for South Carolina to end the Trump charade,” an announcer says.

Yet Trump has repeatedly defied predictions that his comments might threaten his perch atop the field.

As he jousted Saturday with Trump, Jeb Bush said, “this is not about my family or his family.”

But the Bushes have quite a history in South Carolina. In 2000, George W. Bush beat John McCain in a nasty contest, marred by rumors that McCain had an illegitimate black child. McCain adopted a child from Bangladesh. George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, won twice here, beating Bob Dole in 1988 and demolishing Pat Buchanan in 1992.

One of the elder Bush’s top strategists, Lee Atwater, hailed from South Carolina. Last week, Jeb Bush touted the endorsement of Iris Campbell, the widow of former South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell, a national co-chairman of previous Bush presidential campaigns.

Yet even as he defended his brother’s presidency at Saturday’s debate, Jeb Bush found a way to distance himself from George W. Bush’s business affairs and criticized Trump at the same time. The issue: eminent domain.

Before entering politics, George W. Bush was part-owner of the Texas Rangers, and their home city of Arlington, Texas, used eminent domain to take private land and build a stadium for the team. Trump has defended such uses of eminent domain as a way to foster economic development.

Retorted Bush, who argued eminent domain should be reserved for public infrastructure projects, “There is all sorts of intrigue about where I disagree with my brother. There would be one right there.”

 

 

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Rubio Fumbles, Governors Shine, Trump Untouched

ABC NewsThere have been no higher stakes on a Republican debate stage in the 2016 campaign for president than there were Saturday night.

Seven GOP Republican hopefuls faced off just three days before a make-or-break New Hampshire primary that some of them are not likely to survive.

Coming off a strong Iowa finish, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tripped up early under attack from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are jockeying for the same Republican voters.

At the same time, the candidates on the still-crowded stage seemed unwilling to mix it up with Donald Trump, the national front-runner for months who needs a win in New Hampshire on Tuesday to avoid starting the 2016 race with two consecutive losses.

And then there was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the champion college debater who shared a deeply personal moment during an otherwise forgettable night while trying to build on his victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Rubio experienced his worst moment in a presidential debate at the worst time, stumbling badly when forced to answer the fundamental question posed by rivals of his candidacy: whether he has the experience necessary to lead the nation.

As a first-term senator with no executive experience, Rubio’s resume is remarkably similar to Barack Obama before he became president. Rubio tried to turn the question around by charging that Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing” by “undertaking a systematic effort to change this country.”

The answer was quickly challenged by Christie: “I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States.”

A clearly rattled Rubio responded by delivering the same line about Obama not once, but twice. And Christie made sure New Hampshire voters knew it: “There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

It was a cringe-worthy moment for Rubio three days before a New Hampshire contest in which he hopes to knock Christie, Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich from the race. Even if it doesn’t significantly change the contest in New Hampshire, the moment raises questions about Rubio’s readiness to take on Democrat Hillary Clinton in a general election debate.

He is barely registering in recent preference polls, but the New Jersey governor was the toughest candidate on the debate stage Saturday night. And that’s no small feat with the tough-talking Trump at center stage.

At seemingly every turn, Christie zeroed in on Rubio, pelting him with zingers about his inexperience and record in Washington. Calling out Rubio on his missed votes in the Senate, Christie charged, “That’s not leadership. That’s truancy.”

And when Rubio didn’t answer a moderator’s question about why he backpedaled on an immigration proposal he’d helped write when it appeared to become politically unpopular, Christie called him out.

“The question was, did he fight for his legislation. It’s abundantly clear that it he didn’t.” Then he twisted the knife: “That’s not what leadership is. That’s what Congress is.”

It was a performance Christie badly needed as he teeters on the edge of irrelevancy in the crowded Republican contest. Is it too little too late to rescue his campaign?

Trump’s rivals barely laid a glove on the frequent New Hampshire poll leader.

The decision to withhold fire was evident right from the start, when Cruz declined to repeat his assertion this week that Trump didn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. Cruz dodged, saying everyone on the stage would be better leader of the U.S. military than Obama and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Pressed by a moderator whether he stood by his words that Trump was too volatile to be president, Cruz said simply, “I think that is an assessment the voters are going to make.” Trump noted that Cruz refused to answer the question.

Bush was the only one who took it directly to Trump. After the billionaire real-estate developer defended the use of eminent domain as a necessary tool of government, Bush said the businessman was “downright wrong” when his company tried to use eminent domain to build an Atlantic City casino.

Trump scoffed, saying Bush “wants to be a tough guy.”

Bush fired back, “How tough is it to take property from an elderly woman?”

It was the only moment in which Trump flashed any of the rhetorical jabs he’s become known for on Twitter. For the most part, Trump was content to lay back and let those chasing him in the preference polls fight amongst themselves.

The champion college debater wasn’t much of a factor after a rough start to the debate, when he was asked about Trump’s temperament and allegations his campaign team engaged in “deceitful behavior” by suggesting in the moments before the Iowa caucuses started that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was leaving the race.

“When this transpired, I apologized to him then and I do so now,” Cruz said. “Ben, I’m sorry.”

Cruz returned to prominence when asked about substance abuse, and gave an answer that will be hard for some voters to forget.

The Texas senator shared the deeply personal story of his sister’s overdose death. He told New Hampshire voters, and a national television audience, that he and his father pulled his older sister out of a crack house. They pleaded with her to straighten out for the good of her son. But she didn’t listen.

“She died,” Cruz said.

It was a very human moment for a candidate sometimes criticized for not being likable.

And it was in line with his tone all night long, as he consistently rose above the mud-slinging, despite his near-daily attacks on his rivals on the campaign trail.

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High-Stakes At Play for Presidential Candidates in Iowa

Iowa CaucusesIn a high-stakes test of enthusiasm versus organization, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders hope to ride voter energy into victories in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, as Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton bank on sophisticated get-out-the vote operations months in the making.

The caucuses kick off the 2016 presidential nominating contests, marking a new phase in a tumultuous election that has exposed Americans’ deep frustration with Washington and given rise to candidates few expected to challenge for their party’s nomination when they first entered the race.

After months of campaigning and more than $200 million spent on advertising, the race for supremacy in Iowa is close in both parties. Among Republicans, Trump appears to hold a slim edge over Cruz, a fiery senator from Texas. Clinton and Sanders entered Monday in a surprisingly tight Democratic race, reviving memories of the former secretary of state’s disappointing showing in Iowa eight years ago.

“Stick with me,” Clinton said as she rallied supporters Sunday in Council Bluffs. “Stick with a plan. Stick with experience.”

Sanders, the Vermont senator who has been generating big, youthful crowds across the state, urged voters to help him “make history” with a win in Iowa.

In a show of financial strength, Sanders’ campaign announced Sunday it had raised $20 million in January alone. While Sanders has a large team in Iowa, his operation got off to a later start, particularly compared with Clinton, who has had staff on the ground in the state for nearly a year.

Monday’s contest will also offer the first hard evidence of whether Trump can turn the legion of fans drawn to his plainspoken populism into voters. The scope of the billionaire’s organization in Iowa is a mystery, though Trump himself has intensified his campaign schedule during the final sprint, including a pair of rallies Monday.

Cruz has modeled his campaign after past Iowa winners, visiting all of the state’s 99 counties and courting influential evangelical and conservative leaders. With the state seemingly tailor-made for his brand of uncompromising conservatism, a loss to Trump will likely be viewed as a failure to meet expectations.

Seeking to tamp down expectations, Cruz said Sunday that he’s just pleased to be in the mix for first place.

“If you had told me a year ago that two days out from the Iowa caucuses we would be neck and neck, effectively tied for first place in the state of Iowa, I would have been thrilled,” Cruz said.

Cruz has spent the closing days of the Iowa campaign focused intensely on Marco Rubio, trying to ensure the Florida senator doesn’t inch into second place. Rubio is viewed by many Republicans as a more mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, though he’ll need to stay competitive in Iowa in order to maintain his viability.

The campaigns were anxiously keeping an eye on the weather. A snowfall forecast to start Monday night appeared more likely to hinder the hopefuls in their rush out of Iowa than the voters. Republican John Kasich already had decamped to New Hampshire, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush following behind Monday afternoon, hours before the caucuses start.

The trio of governors has had a light footprint in Iowa, banking instead on strong showings in New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary to jumpstart their White House bids. Yet some Republican leaders worry that if Trump or Cruz pull off a big victory in Iowa, it would be difficult to slow their momentum.

Bush, for example, started the year as a fundraising juggernaut. But according to records released Sunday, both his super PAC and campaign fundraising declined significantly in the later months of 2015 as he struggled to keep up with Trump.

Unlike in primaries, where voters can cast their ballots throughout the day, the caucuses begin across Iowa at 7 p.m. CST. Democrats will gather at 1,100 locations and Republicans at nearly 900 spots.

Turnout was expected to be high. The Iowa Republican Party expected GOP turnout to top the previous record of 120,000 people in 2012. Democrats also expect a strong turnout, though not nearly as large as the record-setting 240,000 people who caucused in the 2008 contest between Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

Iowa has decidedly mixed results in picking the parties’ eventual nominees. The past two Republican caucus winners, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, faded as the race stretched on. But Obama’s unexpected 2008 victory was instrumental in his path to the nomination, easing the anxieties of those who worried the young black senator would struggle to win white voters.

While both parties caucus on the same night, they do so with different rules.

Republicans vote by private ballot. The state’s 30 Republican delegates are awarded proportionally based on the stateside vote.

Democrats take a more interactive approach, with voters forming groups and publicly declaring their support for a candidate. If the number of people in any group is fewer than 15 percent of the total, they can either choose not to participate or can join another viable candidate’s group.

Those numbers are awarded proportionately, based on statewide and congressional district voting, as Iowa Democrats determine their 44 delegates to the national convention.

 

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Trump Upstages Fox GOP Debate with Snub

Trump debate snubEven in boycotting a debate with his Republican rivals for the White House, front-runner Donald Trump managed to upstage the event on Thursday with a typical dramatic flourish.

Instead of attending a seventh debate, the former reality TV star held a competing event across town that he said raised $6 million for U.S. military veterans. In doing so, he cast a shadow over his rivals, who frequently tossed barbs his way.

Trump’s gamble that he could leave the battlefield to his rivals for one night appeared to pay off, with just days to go before Iowa holds the first nominating contest of the 2016 election season. No one appeared to emerge as a central challenger to him during the two-hour face-off in Des Moines.

Trump’s refusal to participate in the debate out of anger that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was a moderator prompted a flurry of last-minute phone calls with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes that failed to resolve their dispute.

A Fox News statement said Trump requested that Fox contribute $5 million to his charities in exchange for his attendance, which the network turned down.

The debate was the type of event Republicans would routinely have without the flamboyant Trump on stage, and it lacked the electricity that he brings to the party’s search for a nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

Without Trump on stage, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie found themselves with more room to make their case to voters seeking a more mainstream candidate.

Both men have an eye on the Feb. 9 first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, which comes on the heels of the Iowa caucuses on Monday and where an establishment Republican like them might have a better chance of standing out.

Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, the two top challengers to Trump in Iowa, engaged in squabbles over immigration and national security and did not appear to threaten Trump’s lead. He holds the edge over Cruz in polls of Iowa Republicans.

Trump’s rivals mocked his decision to sit out the debate and found ways to criticize him.

“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon,” Cruz told his rivals, including Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, as the debate opened. His next sentence began: “Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way.”

Bush, who has been a frequent target of Trump’s attacks, turned a question about religious tolerance into an attack on Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

“Donald Trump, for example, I mentioned his name again if anybody was missing him, Mr. Trump believed in reaction to people’s fears that we should ban all Muslims. Well, that creates an environment that’s toxic in our own country,” Bush said.

Cruz, after a series of questions, said: “If you ask me one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.”

In a swipe at both Trump and Cruz, Rubio chimed in: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave the stage no matter what you ask me.”

With his veterans’ event drawing live TV news coverage on Fox News competitors CNN and MSNBC, Trump had plenty of media attention.

He clung to his insistence that Fox News had treated him badly. He has complained that Kelly insulted him at a debate in August and that a statement from the network earlier this week belittled him.

Two other Republican candidates, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, joined Trump on stage after participating in a debate of low-polling candidates.

Not so former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.

“I’m not about to go across town tonight to carry the coat for some billionaire,” he said at the “undercard” debate.

There was initially some mystery as to which veterans’ groups would receive the money raised at the event, which included $1 million from Trump himself. His campaign, in a statement, said the funds would go to 22 different groups it listed online.

Trump, with just one day’s notice on a weeknight, was able to fill to capacity a Drake University hall that holds 700.

“I didn’t want to be here, to be honest, I wanted to be about five minutes away” at the debate, Trump told the crowd. “When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights – whether we like it or not.”

Trump dominated social media during the debate, leading the entire Republican pack in Twitter mentions throughout the first half of the debate, according to data from social media analytics firm Zoomph.

He was by far the most-searched-for candidate on Google during the first half of the debate, at one point outpacing the second-most-searched-for candidate, Rubio, by nearly four-to-one, according to Google Trends data.

Trump’s support in opinion polls, much of it from blue-collar men, has not wavered for months despite him insulting Mexican immigrants and Muslims and clashing with Republican establishment figures like Senator John McCain.

The Republican presidential debate held without front-runner Donald Trump attracted 12.5 million viewers to Fox News Channel on Thursday, according to preliminary Nielsen data.

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Trump Returns to Economic Theme in Visit to Iowa

Trump IOWADonald Trump sought to regain his edge in the early voting state of Iowa Tuesday, returning to the themes of economic populism that helped fuel his surge toward becoming the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Most polls now show Trump trailing in the state, which holds its caucus Feb. 1, to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. But he continues to hold the advantage in national polls

The most recent Reuters/Ipsos 5-day rolling survey showed Trump outpacing the field of likely Republican voters nationally by 39 percent, compared to Cruz at almost 14 percent.

Speaking to a large crowd in Council Bluffs, Trump vowed to return manufacturing jobs to the state.

“I really know the game,” he said while decrying the offshoring of jobs by U.S. corporations. He restated his vow to impose a 35 percent tax on goods brought into the United States by companies that utilize foreign labor in nations such as Mexico.

But Trump trained his wrath more on the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton rather than Cruz or any of his Republican rivals.

Of the prospect of facing the first viable woman candidate for the presidency in the general election, Trump remarked, “If it has to be a woman, it shouldn’t be Hillary.”

Tuesday’s event in Iowa marked a clear shift in the race in which Trump has vowed to start using his personal fortune to bolster his candidacy in states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, without entirely relying on the media attention he has garnered. He has announced an aggressive travel schedule in those states.

Moreover, Trump said earlier Tuesday he plans to run advertisements in early-voting states ahead of the first nominating contests in 2016.

“I’ll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week and perhaps substantially more,” Trump, the party’s front-runner, told reporters, according to video that aired on CNN. “I’m going to be doing big ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and they’re going to be very substantial.”

“My campaign for president is $35,000,000 under budget, I have spent very little (and am in 1st place). Now I will spend big in Iowa/N.H./S.C.,” Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday.

“Starting around January 4 we’re spending a lot of money,” he told reporters following a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire. “The press is hearing this for the first time, they’re probably gonna go crazy.”

Trump pledged on Tuesday to return fire with a flurry of negative ads if anyone aired spots attacking him, though he did not say whether any of his upcoming spots planned to be negative themselves.

Recent polls have showed a one-on-one race in Iowa with Ted Cruz, who, along with his allies, also has spent fairly little on television advertising. Before his event in Iowa and on Twitter, Trump continued to take digs at the advertising strategy of a primary rival: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“So, I have spent almost nothing on my run for president and am in 1st place. Jeb Bush has spent $59 million & done. Run country my way!” Trump tweeted.

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