Posts Tagged Newt Gingrich

Trump Presidential Bid Continues Despite GOP Establishment Efforts to Derail

Donald Trump FoxDonald Trump is showing no signs of curbing his battle with Fox News, the GOP Establishment  and several presidential primary rivals, all trying to desperately gain some traction in the race against Trumps massive support with GOP Base voters.

Trump’s unconventional, insurgent campaign has excited many anti-establishment conservatives while confounding Republican Party leaders already facing the prospects of a bruising fight among 17 candidates.

The latest controversy started Thursday night when Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly recounted Trump’s history of incendiary comments toward women. Angry over what he considered unfair treatment at the debate, Trump told CNN on Friday night that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” That remark cost Trump a prime-time speaking slot at the RedState Gathering, the Atlanta conference where several other presidential candidates spoke to about 1,000 conservative activists.

RedState host Erick Erickson said in a statement that Trump had violated basic standards of decency, even if his bluntness “resonates with a lot of people.” The Trump campaign retorted by calling Erickson a “total loser” who backs other “establishment losers.”

Jeb Bush, the presidential favorite for many top Republican donors, said at RedState that Trump’s bombast would hurt the GOP’s chances with women, who already tilt toward Democrats in presidential elections. “Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of our voters?” the former Florida governor asked.

A parade of other candidates criticized Trump as well. Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, seemed exasperated by it all, at one point snapping at reporters after being asked several Trump-related questions. “I’m running for president,” he said. “I’m not running for social media critic of somebody else who’s running for president.”

By Saturday evening, Trump’s campaign announced that he had fired one of his top campaign consultants. Roger Stone retorted on Twitter that he’d “fired Trump,” not the other way around. According to an email obtained by the Associated Press, Stone wrote to Trump, “The current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message.”

Trump’s campaign manager said he never received that message.

Among RedState attendees, opinions varied about whether Trump should be criticized for the remark he made about Kelly. But if there was anything close to a consensus, it was that the activists still want to hear from Trump and hope that other candidates heed his rise.

“It sounds like Republicans want to cherry-pick someone as the nominee,” said Jane Sacco of New Port Richey, Florida, who was angry at Erickson’s decision to dump Trump. “And,” she added, “they want everyone to fall in line.”

The treatment of Trump by Fox News and the establishment, is not unlike the treatment of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich following his South Carolina primary win in 2012. Then Gingrich won a popular victory against the spending power of eventual GOP Nominee Mitt Romney, only for Fox News and conservative outlets to drown out the Gingrich challenge with negative stories and positive Romney coverage in the weeks that followed, dooming the Gingrich insurgency to failure.

 

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Mitt Romney in Full Campaign Mode During Mississippi Swing

Image: Republican National Committee Holds Winter MeetingMitt Romney staged a campaign-style swing Wednesday through a Deep South state that spurned him in the 2012 Republican primary, calling for a national war on poverty, testing a few attack lines directed at Hillary Rodham Clinton, and declaring his fondness for pulled pork.

It was the first opportunity for Romney to show off a new, somewhat looser stump style as he weighs whether to seek the White House for a third time. He appeared more at ease than he typically did when he was the 2012 Republican nominee, joking about his personal wealth and discussing his Mormon faith.

He told offbeat tales of his failed presidential bid and quipped about advice he got during the last campaign from a man who urged him to grow a little stubble to appear “more sexy.”

“As if I needed that,” Romney deadpanned.

In a trip to the poorest state in the union, Romney also renewed his call for a national fight against what he calls “chronic generational poverty,’’ and began elaborating on the kinds of policies he would push if he mounts a third presidential campaign.

Top Republican activists and donors have been eager to hear Romney provide a clearer rationale for why he thinks he deserves another shot,  and how this campaign would be different.

To make his most expansive appearance since he told wealthy donors several weeks ago that he was contemplating a campaign, Romney visited the campus of Mississippi State University, in a state where he placed third in the 2012 party primary, behind Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

He batted down repeated questions from reporters about his intentions for another White House campaign. When a moderator asked him how his campaign would be different from his failed campaigns of the past, he said, “That’s another question I won’t answer.”

But he did begin sketching out some of the ways he would attempt to combat poverty, after blaming the growing disparity in income on a failure of “liberal policies.”

“The rich have done historically well,” he said. “I’m concerned about the middle class and the poor in this country.”

If he runs, Romney said he would push for more and better high school educational opportunities, including charter schools, and incentives for businesses to hire people who haven’t had a job before. One of the areas he grew most passionate about was placing more emphasis on two-parent families as a way to alleviate poverty. He also urged students to have a “life coach.”

“We have to make sure our government programs aren’t creating incentives for people not to get married,” he said, citing housing vouchers and other federal programs. “And they do right now.”

But the most striking aspect of the performance was that Romney, often charicatured since his days as Massachusetts governor as robotic and programmed, made a greater effort to appear to be more comfortable in his own skin.

“You may have heard that I’m thinking of running for president again,” Romney said, to loud applause. “I don’t miss the annoying press. I don’t miss more than 300 nights away in a hotel room. I’m not even thinking about the speaking fees I can earn. As you no doubt heard, I’m already rich.”

Romney highlighted his vision for sustained economic prosperity and outlined broad foreign policy goals, criticizing what he considers weak global leadership by President Obama and Clinton. He said that Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination, “cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation.”

Calling Obama’s recent State of the Union address “naïve at best and deceptive at worst,” he criticized the foreign policy of both Obama and Clinton.

“ISIS represents a new level of threat given its oil revenues, vast territory, and ability to recruit even in the West,” he said, referring to Islamic State, the army of fundamentalist militants that is occupying parts of Syria and Iraq. He also cited a more assertive China and America’s reduced nuclear arms capabilities as threats.

“Doesn’t the president understand that some of what we are seeing in the world is in part the result of his timid foreign policy, of walking away from his red line in Syria, of paring back our military budget, and of insulting friends like Israel and Poland?” Romney said. “Strong American leadership is desperately needed for the world, and for America.”

In the last several weeks, Romney has been testing the reaction to a possible third presidential campaign.

His advisers met in Boston last week and went as far as to discuss where campaign headquarters might be located. Romney also is trying to sell an 11,000-square-foot home he is building in La Jolla, Calif. The house, and its car elevator, was used in 2012 to portray him as rich and out of touch.

Before his appearance on campus, Romney stopped by Little Dooey, a barbecue restaurant that had a sign outside welcoming him. Wearing Hudson jeans and an open-collared shirt, he stepped out of a black SUV and quickly declared, “I like pulled pork.”

After ordering a sandwich with “red sauce, not South Carolina’s mustard sauce,” Romney was standing at a soda machine when he was asked about his thoughts on running for president.

“Oh my goodness. What I’m thinking about is, ‘Do I get Diet Coke, or do I get the real thing?’ ” he said, adding a bit of regular Coke to his cup. “There we go, a little taste of the good stuff, guys.”

He sat down with Dan Mullen, head coach of the Mississippi State football team, which went 10-3 in the regular season.

“The day after a loss. . . ” Romney said. “You’ve got to bring the team back and get them up. What do you do? How do you do it?”

“You’ll review what went right, what went wrong,” Mullen said. “After a game, you don’t sleep a whole lot.”

“I know what that’s like,” Romeny responded.

“In your business, you’ve got a record,” Romney said to the coach. “I mean it all comes down to your record. You can be the sweetest-talking person in the world, but unless you’ve got a record, you’re in trouble.”

“You’ve gotta win,” Mullen said. “You’ve gotta win.”

 

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And So It Begins….Jeb Bush Announces He Will Actively Explore 2016 Presidential Run

Jeb bushFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday morning he will “actively explore” a run for the White House in 2016, becoming the first Republican out of the starting gate nearly two years before Election Day.

In brief messages posted on Facebook and Twitter, Bush, the son and brother of two former Oval Office occupants, said he had discussed the possibility of his candidacy over Thanksgiving weekend and decided to proceed with preparing to launch a campaign.

“As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States,” Bush wrote.

Bush is an early favorite of the Republican party’s establishment and donor class, who have largely remained on the sidelines in anticipation of Bush’s announcement, but he will face ardent opposition from the conservative base of the party, who find his moderate positions on Common Core and immigration reforms to be objectionable. At a panel in Washington earlier this month, Bush said the party’s nominee must “lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles,” an indication that he would not change his positions in order to win the nomination.

In recent days, Bush aides have signalled that he was more likely to announce a White House bid, feeling he is the most qualified to take on likely Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Bush’s announcement is sure to reverberate throughout Republican politics and begin to help sort out a field that includes more than a dozen potential candidates, none of whom have formally announced plans to mount a campaign.

Should he ultimately decide to run, Bush can tap into his family’s vast political network and his campaign would attract strong support from the same donor pool that other establishment-minded Republicans New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie among them, need to fuel their own prospective campaigns.

A Bush candidacy also has the potential to affect the plans of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who came up through Florida politics as a strong Bush supporter and is considering whether to seek re-election to the Senate or run for president in 2016.

In January, Bush will form a leadership PAC to allow him to travel the country and to donate money to state and local officials who could support him should he make his announcement official. But he is stopping short of official forming a “presidential exploratory committee,” which would mean he and his aides could not coordinate with outside groups.

The full Bush note:

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.

We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.

Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.

Onward,

Jeb Bush

 

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Cantor Beaten in Primary in Blow to Republican Establishment

Eric Cantor, Diana CantorU.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia lost to a Tea Party challenger on Tuesday in a stunning Republican primary upset that sent shockwaves through Congress and gave the conservative movement a landmark victory.

Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, was easily beaten by college economics professor David Brat, who accused Cantor of betraying conservative principles on spending, debt and immigration.

The result could halt efforts to craft a House immigration reform bill, as nervous Republicans hustle to protect themselves against future challenges from the right ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections. It could also make Republicans even more hesitant to cooperate with President Barack Obama and Democrats for fear of being labeled a compromiser.

Cantor had been seen by many as an eventual successor to House Speaker John Boehner, and his defeat will mean a shake-up in the Republican leadership at the end of the year among House members nervous about the depth of public anger toward Congress.

A seven-term congressman with ties to the financial industry, Cantor had spent more than $5 million to head off the challenge from Brat, a political newcomer who teaches at Randolph-Macon College.

Brat spent only about $122,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and was not seen in the media or national Republican circles as a danger to Cantor.

The victory also emboldened conservative leaders, and could encourage a challenge to Boehner when the new leadership team is chosen. “Eric Cantor’s loss tonight is an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment. The grassroots is in revolt and marching,” said Brent Bozell, a veteran conservative activist and founder of the Media Research Center and ForAmerica.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Brat had about 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.

“I know there are a lot of long faces here tonight,” Cantor told supporters. “It’s disappointing, sure.”

Brat, speaking to an ecstatic crowd, said: “This is the happiest moment, obviously, of my life.”

The result was a blow to the Republican establishment, which had scored a string of victories over the Tea Party in primaries to select candidates for the November elections. Republicans are hoping to pick up six seats to gain a Senate majority, but are considered heavy favorites to retain a House majority.

“We all saw how far outside the mainstream this Republican Congress was with Eric Cantor at the helm, now we will see them run further to the far right with the Tea Party striking fear into the heart of every Republican on the ballot,” said Representative Steve Israel of New York, who heads the House Democratic campaign committee.

During the primary campaign, Brat repeatedly accused Cantor of supporting some immigration reform principles, including “amnesty” for undocumented workers. In response, Cantor had sent voters a mailer boasting of his role in trying to kill a House immigration bill that included that provision.

Brat also accused Cantor of losing touch with his central Virginia district while serving the party’s leadership.

Republican strategists suggested Cantor had been too slow to realize how real the threat from Brat was.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Cantor had helped make Brat better known by attacking him by name in the late stages of the campaign.

The result unleashed immediate speculation about a possible replacement for Cantor when the House meets to pick new leaders at the end of the year, including Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also faced a Tea Party challenge on Tuesday, but he beat a crowded field of six challengers who also had accused him of not being conservative enough.

 

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Cruz, Christie and Rubio Rally Conservatives at CPAC 2014

cpac20141The Republican Party is ready to win the midterm elections this November — but more importantly, ready to lead, a number of congressional Republicans said Thursday at a conservative gathering just outside of Washington.

“I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at the Conservative Political Action Conference, acknowledging that his 2012 campaign as Mitt Romney’s running mate didn’t go quite as planned. “I think the left is exhausted, our side is energized. On Election Day, we’re going to win.”

Republicans in Congress managed to drain a large amount of their political capital late last year as they split over whether it was worth shutting the government down over the federal budget. Meanwhile, some high-profile Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., — are facing energetic opposition from tea party conservatives.

Ryan, however, said the intra-party tussling amounts to a “vibrant debate.”

“Sure we have our disagreements, and yes they can get a little passionate,” Ryan told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I like to think of it as creative tension.”

Ryan said Republicans would prevail in November because Democrats are “out of ideas,” proven by the fact that after five years in power “all they have to show for it is this lousy website,” alluding to HealthCare.gov.

“For the president and his allies, this campaign will not be a sprint or marathon, it’s going to be a 50 yard dash,” Ryan said.

Given the struggles with the Obamacare rollout and polls showing the public has lost confidence in President Obama, conventional wisdom suggests Republicans should “sit on our hands, keep our heads down,” noted Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a tea party favorite. “Let President Obama’s failures preserve a Republican majority in the House and win one in the Senate.”

That sentiment, Lee said, is “dead wrong.”

“We’ve not yet won back the trust of the American people or explained exactly why they should give it to us,” he said. “2014 must be the year we change that.”

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., similarly said, “Our ideas are better than [Democrats’] ideas, and that’s what we have to stand up for.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who like Lee was one of the tea partiers elected in the 2010 midterms, listed a series of ideas Republicans should get behind.

We need to abolish the IRS, we need to adopt a simple flat tax, where every American can fill out his taxes on a postcard,” he said. He also called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act, a balanced budget amendment, and a law to audit the Federal Reserve.

Cruz also stressed the need to reduce alleged government corruption — suggesting, for instance, there should be a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress. “We need to tell the truth, the truth is that Washington is corrupt,” he said. “More and more people are making great wealth in Washington, Wall Street prospers and Main Street suffers.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, meanwhile, stressed the importance of keeping America dominant on the world stage.

“There is only one nation on Earth capable of rallying and bringing together the fee people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarians. The United Nation cannot do this — in fact, they cannot do anything,” Rubio said to applause.

Rubio described the possible world that could emerge, should the United States fail to lead — one “where North Korea can blow up California or the west coast of the United States with a nuclear weapon” or China controls the South China Sea.

“Without American engagement,” he said, that world is “not just a possibility, it is a real probability.”

The senator added, “That doesn’t mean we’re going to be in 15 wars… It also doesn’t mean we can solve every conflict.” However, he said, “We cannot ignore the reality of who we are.”

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Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers to rebut Obama State of Union speech

state_of_the_unionRepresentative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking female Republican in the U.S. Congress, will deliver her party’s response to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday announced they had selected McMorris Rodgers to present the high-profile speech.

The 44-year-old conservative was relatively obscure before being elected House Republican Conference chair, the No. 4 leadership position in the Republican-controlled chamber, in November 2012.

McMorris Rodgers has represented her district in eastern Washington state since 2005, establishing a solid conservative voting record by opposing federal funds for abortion and legislation encouraging equal pay for women.

She also voted against Obama’s healthcare reform law and the $820 billion economic stimulus measure the president won in 2009 to help jump-start the ailing U.S. economy.

McMorris Rodgers is also the only woman to give birth to three children while serving in Congress.

The State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress is an opportunity for the president to outline his broad themes and legislative priorities for the coming year.

The choice of McMorris Rodgers to deliver the rebuttal comes

about nine months before November’s congressional elections and as Republicans try to improve their appeal to women voters who heavily favored Obama, a Democrat, in his 2012 re-election.

“Through the lens of her family’s experiences, Cathy will share our vision for a better America built on a thriving middle class,” Boehner said in a statement.

Early in the 2012 presidential campaign, McMorris Rodgers was sometimes mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney, who ultimately chose another House Republican, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

While the opportunity to rebut the president’s State of the Union address can be a public relations dream for many politicians, it comes with risks as well.

In 2009, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was in the limelight and at the time was seen as a contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

But Jindal’s speech was widely criticized by pundits who said it fell flat.

Last year, another Republican presidential hopeful, freshman Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, told a national audience of his humble beginnings as the son of Cuban immigrants. Rubio attacked Obama’s domestic policies while trying to soften his party’s image as a defender of the rich.

But much of Rubio’s message was swamped by a bottle of water – one that he reached for out of camera range in the middle of his speech – that he needed to lubricate his dry mouth.

The nationally televised gaffe became the butt of comedians’ jokes and political pundits’ speculation on whether his chances for the White House had been diminished.

McMorris Rodgers is expected to attack Obamacare – a theme Republicans have been pounding away on since the law to expand health insurance coverage to millions of Americans was enacted in early 2010.

Republicans have argued that Obamacare is unworkable, will cost jobs and raise healthcare costs despite Democratic claims to the contrary.

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The Year of the Super PAC

Super PacsAn unmistakable dynamic is playing out in the money game among Republican presidential candidates: New “super” political action committees are growing more powerful than the campaigns they support.

For two of the GOP front-runners, their supportive super PACs raised more money and have more cash left in the bank than the candidates’ own campaigns. Helping their efforts are major financial gifts from wealthy business executives, whose contributions can be essential to the groups’ continued operations.

Mitt Romney-leaning Restore Our Future and Newt Gingrich-supportive Winning Our Future raised a combined $17 million last month and spent nearly $24 million during that same period. That financial strength allowed the groups to splash the airwaves in key primary states with millions of dollars in TV ads.

The proliferation of new super PACs continues to underscore how the groups, which can raise and spend unlimited sums, are influencing the race. The groups’ fundraising last month offers a periodic behind-the-scenes glimpse into the identities of the rich supporters who will help elect the next president, along with details on how the millions of dollars they donated have been spent.

Restore Our Future, which had $16 million cash on hand, has been boosted by more than two dozen repeat donors. Winning Our Future, which had $2.4 million in the bank, is largely supported by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife.

Meanwhile, Romney raised $6.5 million last month and had $7.7 million left over for his presidential bid, while Gingrich’s presidential campaign raised $5.5 million during the same period and had about $1.8 million in cash remaining.

The super PACs, as well as other groups supporting other candidates and the individual campaigns, were required to disclose how much they raised and the identities of their donors in reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by midnight Monday. Those reports provided a snapshot of fundraising for President Barack Obama’s early campaign and for Republican candidates as they battled during important primary elections in January.

During the month, GOP candidates Gingrich and Rick Santorum had briefly surged ahead of Romney but trailed the former Massachusetts governor in fundraising. Since then, Santorum has climbed remarkably in polls while Gingrich’s support has eroded just as stunningly following the former House speaker’s disappointing showing in Florida’s primary.

Restore Our Future has been a boon for Romney, who has benefited greatly from the group’s TV ads attacking Gingrich in particular. Such ads were purchased thanks to the financial help of repeat donors, including Marriott International Chairman J.W. Marriott Jr., who has given the super PAC $750,000 to date.

The super PAC also reported new donors, including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman. Romney mentored Whitman, recently an unsuccessful candidate for California governor, during the 1980s at Boston-based Bain & Co., the private equity firm Romney headed. Whitman’s $100,000 check to Restore Our Future came days after she joined Romney at a celebration of his victory in the New Hampshire primary.

Restore Our Future counted on continued support from at least 30 repeat donors who, along with new contributors, gave a combined $6.6 million in January, according to a review of the reports by The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Winning Our Future’s $11 million in contributions during the same period came almost exclusively from Adelson, a friend of Gingrich’s and a staunch supporter of Israel. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, each gave $5 million to the super PAC in January — a move that helped keep Gingrich’s struggling campaign alive.

Other GOP-leaning super PACs reported major contributions.

Endorse Liberty, the group supporting Texas Rep. Ron Paul, reported roughly $2.4 million in donations, including $1.7 from the billionaire founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel of San Francisco. Thiel, who runs a hedge fund, is a libertarian who has supported Republican causes and candidates and also has donated to California’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Obama’s campaign on Friday reported raising a combined $29.1 million in January among the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other joint fundraising committees. The major super PAC backing Obama, Priorities USA Action, raised only $58,000 last month — mostly from a $50,000 contribution by Chicago businessman John Rogers — underscoring why Obama encouraged his supporters recently to give to the super PAC.

The reports likely will rekindle criticism of the groups, which were made possible under a 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case. The super PACs must legally remain independent from the candidates they support, but many are staffed with former campaign aides who have intimate knowledge of the campaigns’ strategies.

Late Friday, the Supreme Court put on hold a Montana case that bore striking similarities. Two justices said the newest case provides an opportunity for the court to reconsider whether millionaires and billionaires should be allowed to continue pouring millions of dollars into the presidential election.

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