Posts Tagged John Kasich
Sessions, a conservative heavyweight known for his hardline immigration views, backed Trump at a packed rally in a local football stadium here, praising his stance on immigration and trade and calling his campaign a “movement… that must not fade away.”
“The American people are not happy with their government,” Sessions said. “We have an opportunity Tuesday. It may be the last opportunity we have for the people’s voice to be heard.”
The Alabama senator, who has never endorsed a candidate in a Republican presidential primary, repeatedly praised Trump’s position on immigration, which includes his proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deport illegal immigrants. “You have asked for 30 years, and politicians have promised for 30 years, to fix illegal immigration,” Sessions said. “Donald Trump will do it.”
Sessions is the first sitting U.S. senator to formally endorse Trump, and his decision to back the real estate mogul and former reality-show star is a major blow to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Sessions’ closest allies in Washington, who had lobbied for his support.
Still Sessions hinted that he didn’t entirely agree with all of Trump’s views. “You know, nobody is perfect. We can’t have everything,” he told the crowd here. But, he added, “I think at this time, in my opinion, my best judgment, at this time in America’s history, we need to make America great again.”
His endorsement came just days after Trump won the backing of his former rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“I am becoming mainstream! All these people are endorsing me!” Trump gleefully declared after the Alabama senator announced his support. “But Sessions… that’s a biggie.”
The endorsements came as Trump heads into Super Tuesday with what seems to be unstoppable momentum. According to polls, the businessman leads in all 10 states voting on Tuesday — except for Texas, where he narrowly trails Cruz. The Trump camp is so confident heading into Super Tuesday that the candidate is spending most of that day campaigning in states such as Ohio and Florida, home turf of his rivals John Kasich and Marco Rubio, where Republicans will vote later this month.
Still, much of the Trump rally here was dedicated to trashing Rubio, who has spent the last three days furiously attacking the GOP frontrunner in a bid to consolidate the anti-Trump wing of the party. Before the candidate took the stage, he was preceded by a string of speakers, attacking Rubio as soft on immigration and protecting American workers. At the podium, Trump spent more than half his speech trashing the Florida senator, whom he referred to again and again as “Little Marco.”
“He’s not cool. He sweats too much. And I don’t want him negotiating for us,” Trump said. “We don’t need a guy who is sweaty and scared.”
The problem may be that it took 10 debates and three Trump victories to get Rubio fired up.
Rubio, along with most of the other GOP presidential candidates, has treated Trump with kid-gloves for months, tiptoeing around glaring questions about the real estate mogul’s business record, political ideology, brash temperament and ambiguous policy proposals.
Only now, with Trump threatening to pull away from the field, did Rubio aggressively and brutally try to dismantle the billionaire businessman’s grip on the Republican race, with occasional help from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Rubio accused Trump of shifting his position on deportation and staffing his hotels and other businesses with foreign workers instead of Americans. He also punched holes in the real estate mogul’s vague proposal for replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law.
“What is your plan, Mr. Trump? What is your plan on health care?” Rubio pressed.
The senator also gleefully pointed out Trump’s propensity for repeating talking points over and over again, the same criticism that tripped up Rubio in a debate earlier this month.
“Now he’s repeating himself!” Rubio exclaimed.
Rubio’s assertive posture was sure to be cheered by the crush of Republican officials who have rallied around his campaign in recent days, desperate for the senator to become a viable alternative to Trump. But privately, many were likely wondering why it took so long for Rubio to make his move and whether his strong showing came too late.
Next week’s Super Tuesday contests mark the biggest single-day delegate haul of the nomination contests. A strong showing by Trump could put the nomination within his grasp, raising the stakes for his rivals to stop him.
Rubio was sometimes joined by Cruz in tag-team attacks on Trump. It was a tactical shift for two senators who had trained their fire on each other in recent weeks, both betting that the best strategy was to clear the field of other rivals before moving on to Trump.
But Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses clearly changed their calculus. Trump dominated that contest, beating second-place Rubio by more than 20 points, and pulling ahead significantly in the early delegate count after victories in South Carolina and New Hampshire as well.
Trump appeared rattled at times as he faced the most sustained, face-to-face attacks of the campaign. Before Thursday, only Jeb Bush had made a real effort to tangle with Trump on the debate stage, though it did little to help the former Florida governor. Bush ended his campaign last week after disappointing showings in early primaries and a fundraising drought.
Rubio appeared to have taken lessons from Bush’s exchanges with Trump. The senator was prepared for Trump’s frequent habit of interrupting and almost willfully refused to back down when the businessman tried to talk over him. He also took a page out of Trump’s own playbook, lacing his more substantive critiques with some sharply personal attacks.
During a particularly biting exchange, Rubio said that if Trump hadn’t inherited family money, he would be “selling watches in Manhattan.”
Trump punched back with trademark insults.
After Rubio criticized his hiring practices, the businessman said, “You haven’t hired one person, you liar.” And when Cruz challenged Trump’s conservative credentials by suggesting he’s been too cozy with Democrats, the front-runner ripped the senator for being loathed by many of his Senate colleagues.
“You get along with nobody,” Trump said. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
At times, the three-way fight between Trump, Rubio and Cruz devolved into a shouting match, with each struggling to be heard, let alone make a substantive policy point. The debate moderators were virtually helpless, as were the two other candidates on stage, John Kasich and Ben Carson.
For Rubio, the squabbling was a long way from the uplifting calls for a generational change in American politics and heavy focus on his family’s moving immigrant story that have been the cornerstone of his campaign. Those were the messages that have set Democrats on edge about the prospect of their eventual nominee, likely Hillary Clinton, facing the telegenic, 44-year-old Cuban-American in the general election.
Rubio’s next challenge beyond topping Trump in at least some of the upcoming primaries, will be infusing that more optimistic message into his critique of Trump. He’s also likely to face the full force of Trump’s attacks for the first time in the campaign.
Even before the debate was over, Trump suggested he was eager to keep up the fight.
“This is a lot of fun up here, I have to tell you,” Trump said.
Outside Challenger Donald Trump’s grasp on the Republican presidential nomination growing increasingly stronger, the billionaire businessman’s rivals get one more chance to challenge the GOP front-runner on the debate stage before next week’s slate of Super Tuesday contests.
The situation is likely more dire for the other GOP candidates than they’d like voters to believe. Yet Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have so far shown little willingness to take on the former reality television star when the national spotlight shines brightest.
That could change Thursday night in Houston.
“The vast and overwhelming majority of Republicans do not want Donald Trump to be our nominee,” Rubio told NBC, suggesting that Trump is winning only because the other candidates are splitting up the majority of the electorate.
For his part, the New York billionaire predicted the relative civility between Rubio and himself is about to disappear. The ninth Republican debate of the presidential campaign will take place just a few days before 11 states hold GOP elections that will either cement Trump’s dominance, or let his rivals slow his march to his party’s presidential nomination.
Both Cruz and Rubio know full-well that the strategy of ignoring the front-runner is not working. How they tackle Trump remains to be seen, to date, Trump has proved largely immune to traditional political attacks, something he reveled in on Wednesday. “I seem to have a very good track record when to do go after me,” the New York real estate mogul told NBC.
The task is made more complicated by the shift from single-state campaigns to a new phase of the race, where the candidates must compete across several states at the same time. Next Tuesday features voting in a mix of states that include Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Virginia, with more to come in the weeks after.
Trump won Nevada’s presidential caucuses on Tuesday with more than 45 percent of the vote, scoring his third consecutive primary victory in dominant fashion. Rubio edged out Cruz for runner-up for the second consecutive race, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson far off the pace.
As they seek to become the Trump alternative, Cruz and Rubio have significant liabilities of their own.
Cruz comes into the debate at the weakest point of his presidential campaign after a staff shakeup and three consecutive third-place finishes.
The Texas senator ousted a senior aide on Monday after the aide promoted an inaccurate news report that Rubio had condemned the Bible during a chance encounter with Cruz’s father. The aide’s dismissal helps legitimize Trump and Rubio charges that Cruz has been running an unethical campaign.
Even while vulnerable, Cruz signaled an aggressive stance heading into the debate. He lashed out at Trump and Rubio as “Washington dealmakers” while talking to reporters in Houston on Wednesday. Rubio, Cruz said, had worked with Democrats to craft an immigration overhaul, while Trump has given money to Democrats and backed their priorities at times in recent years.
“I don’t think the people of Texas and I don’t think the people of this country want another Washington dealmaker to go and surrender more to the Democrats, giving in to the failed liberal agenda,” Cruz said.
Rubio, meanwhile, is just one debate removed from a primetime meltdown. The Florida senator repeated himself several times in a New Hampshire debate less than three weeks ago, triggering what he now calls “the New Hampshire disappointment.” He avoided a similar mistake in the subsequent debate, but critics in both parties will be laser-focused on anything that suggests the 44-year-old legislator isn’t sufficiently prepared to move into the White House.
But Rubio, who has been reluctant to publicly talk about Trump by name, stepped up his aggressiveness Wednesday.
In an appearance in Houston, he criticized Trump for what Rubio said was a failure to strongly oppose the federal health care law derided by critics as “Obamacare.”
The Florida senator also said “the front-runner in this race, Donald Trump, has said he’s not going to take sides on Israel versus the Palestinians because he wants to be an honest broker.”
Rubio said there was no such thing “because the Palestinian Authority, which has strong links to terror, they teach little kids, 5-year-olds, that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews.” He also named Trump in accusing him of thinking “parts of Obamacare are pretty good” drawing boos.
Emboldened by the recent departure of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush from the race, Rubio has fresh momentum after two consecutive second-place finishes. His team is convinced they must dispatch with Cruz before turning their full attention to taking down Trump.
Rubio also said that he’d respond to Trump and Cruz if attacked in Thursday’s debate, but that, “I didn’t run for office to tear up other Republicans.”
And after eight debates, it’s unclear what sort of attacks could work against Trump. As his resume would suggest, he’s proven to be a master showman on primetime television.
Businessman Donald Trump inched closer to the U.S. Republican presidential nomination after easily outdistancing his rivals in the Nevada caucuses Tuesday, giving him his third win in four early nominating contests.
Broadcast networks called the state for Trump almost immediately after voting ended, with the state Republican Party confirming the victory soon after.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was in second place, with Ted Cruz, a U.S. Senator from Texas, coming in third.
Trump’s decisive win is likely to further frustrate Republican establishment figures who, less than a month ago, were hoping that the outspoken billionaire’s insurgent candidacy was stalled after he lost the opening nominating contest in Iowa to Cruz.
But since then, Trump has tallied wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and now Nevada, with a suite of southern states ahead on March 1, so-called Super Tuesday.
“If you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much, and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country,” Trump said at a victory rally in Las Vegas.
Polls suggest Trump will do well in many of those Super Tuesday states, placing further pressure on Cruz, Rubio, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, another presidential candidate who was not a factor in Nevada, to come up with counter-measures quickly.
In the run-up to Nevada, most of Trump’s rivals left him alone, preferring to tussle with each other in a bid to be the last surviving challenger to the front-runner.
Not long after Trump’s win was certified in Nevada, Cruz’s campaign released a statement criticizing Rubio for not winning the state, but did not mention Trump at all.
Rubio, who has emerged as the Republican establishment’s favorite to derail Trump’s progress, can take some solace in finishing second. But that also has to be viewed as somewhat of a setback considering that he had frequently campaigned in Nevada, having lived there for years as a child. A Cuban-American, he had attempted to rally the support of the state’s large Latino population.
Rubio had also benefited from the departure Saturday of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, from the race. That brought an influx of new funds, a bevy of endorsements, and a wealth of media attention. But none of it was enough to overtake Trump.
As for Cruz, he is facing mounting questions about the viability of his campaign. After Cruz’s Iowa win, Trump has made serious inroads among his core base of conservative supporters, draining anti-government hardliners and evangelicals.
Cruz attempted to appeal to Nevada’s fierce libertarian wing, appealing directly to those who supported local rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed protest against the federal government in 2014 and a similar more recent one staged by Bundy’s sons at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. But that, too, was not enough.
The upcoming March 1 primary in his home state of Texas is looming as a make-or-break moment for him.
Despite early reports on social media of procedural irregularities at many Nevada caucus sites, the Republican National Committee and the party’s state chapter said voting ran smoothly. Higher-than-normal turnout was reported, although historically, few of the state’s citizens participate in the Republican caucus.
Nevada’s contest had been viewed as a test of whether Trump had organizational might to match his star power. Unlike primaries, caucuses are more dependent on the abilities of campaigns to motivate supporters to participate. Trump’s failure to do that in Iowa was viewed as contributing to his defeat there.
He had no such problems in Nevada. And he is expected to win the bulk of Nevada’s 30 delegates, That would give him more than 80 before February ends, dwarfing the tallies of Cruz and Rubio.
While more than 1,200 are needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Trump has built a formidable head start.
Donald 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.
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.
The poll the first in which Cruz has led the field, shows the Texas senator with 24 percent support from voters who intend to take part in the February 1, 2016 Iowa caucuses, the first real measure of voter support in the 2016 presidential campaign.
As recently as October, Cruz, 44, had just 10 percent support in the Monmouth poll.
His fortunes have changed, however, after a critical endorsement from a popular Republican lawmaker in this heartland state, and as voters cool on retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, an earlier favourite.
“This marks the first time Ted Cruz has held a lead in any of the crucial early states,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey, highlighting what he called a “Cruz surge in Iowa.”
As Ben Carson’s stock has fallen, Cruz has been able to corral most of those voters, Murray said.
Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump was the second choice of Iowa Republicans with 19 percent support, followed by Marco Rubio (17 percent); Ben Carson, (13 percent); Jeb Bush, (six percent); Rand Paul (four percent) and Carly Fiorina and John Kasich each with three percent.
Two months ago, Carson topped the Monmouth survey with 19 percent support, but his poll numbers have been in free-fall in recent weeks following a number of gaffes in the area of foreign policy and security.
His slip-ups have occurred at precisely the moment when Americans are paying more attention to candidates’ foreign policy acumen because of perceived security threats abroad and at home.
Marco Rubio, the fresh-faced senator from Florida, is seen by many as the favourite of the party establishment given the lackluster showing on the campaign trail so far of his state’s former governor Jeb Bush.
Like Cruz, he appears to have improved his standing with Iowa voters, increasing his support by seven percentage points since the last poll, up from 10 percent in October.
The telephone survey of 425 likely participants in the Iowa caucuses has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent.