Posts Tagged the Republican National Committee

Trump Storms to Nevada Caucus Victory

Trump NevadaBusinessman 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.

 

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Did Trump Go Too Far With Sen. McCain Attack?

Donald TrumpRepublican presidential contender Donald Trump disparaged U.S. Senator John McCain’s war record on Saturday, saying the former prisoner in North Vietnam was only considered a war hero because he was captured.

The confrontational real estate mogul, who has been feuding with the Republican senator from Arizona for days, also criticized McCain’s work in the Senate and called him “a loser” for his defeat in the 2008 White House race.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at a gathering in Ames, Iowa, of religious conservatives after the event’s moderator, pollster Frank Luntz, used the phrase to describe McCain. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

At a news conference later, Trump softened his comments, saying, “If a person is captured, they are a hero as far as I’m concerned.”

McCain, a Navy fighter pilot, spent more than five years during the Vietnam War in a Hanoi prison after being shot down, and was tortured by his captors.

Trump also criticized McCain for failing to do enough in the Senate for military veterans.

“John McCain talks a lot, but he doesn’t do anything,” Trump told reporters.

His comments drew swift denunciations from many rival Republican presidential contenders and became the latest in a series of controversies to engulf the publicity-loving billionaire since he jumped into the race with harsh rhetoric about Mexican immigrants.

The comments also were certain to remind party leaders, already nervous about Trump’s recent rise to the top of opinion polls, about his unpredictability ahead of the first Republican debate in early August.

The harsh reaction seemed to indicate that many Republicans had lost patience with Trump.

“There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably,” said Sean Spicer, chief strategist for the Republican National Committee.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said on the campaign trail in Sioux City, Iowa, that McCain was clearly a hero. “Enough with the slanderous attacks,” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Twitter.

“Donald Trump owes every American veteran, and in particular John McCain, an apology,” said former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who said Trump’s comments called into question his legitimacy as a potential president and commander in chief.

In a statement released after his appearance, Trump said he was “not a fan” of McCain and added: “I have great respect for all those who serve in our military, including those that weren’t captured and are also heroes.”

But Trump said at the news conference he would not apologize to McCain. McCain did not immediately respond to Trump.

Trump told reporters he used student deferments and later a medical deferment for what he said was a bone spur to avoid military service during the Vietnam War.

“I was not a big fan of the Vietnam War,” he said.

He made the McCain comments during the summit sponsored by Christian conservative groups. Iowa is the first state to vote in the nominating contests leading up to the November 2016 election.

Luntz, the event’s moderator, launched the discussion when he questioned Trump’s recent criticism of McCain as a “dummy,” which came after the senator said Trump’s candidacy had brought out the “crazies.”

“I supported McCain for president,” Trump said of the Arizonan’s 2008 run. “He lost and let us down. … I’ve never liked him as much after that. I don’t like losers.”

 

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New Reports Show Governor Christie Struggling to Gain Traction with Donors

ChristieGov. Chris Christie’s advisers say there are plenty of other fish in the sea, after two reports published Thursday night showed troubling signs for the New Jersey Republican’s sway with donors and supporters ahead of his potential presidential campaign.

The New York Times and The Washington Post report that some GOP heavyweights in Christie’s orbit  like New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a former Christie mentor  are starting to show some support for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Johnson, the Times reported, has decided to back Bush, while Kean hasn’t made up his mind, though he offered praise for Bush, according to the Post.

Bush’s allies have been actively working behind the scenes to court donors so his political operation can roll out a huge fundraising sum early on and hopefully squeeze out other rivals.

While Christie has also been traveling and attending fundraisers, he has faced a slew of negative headlines over his low approval ratings in New Jersey, as well as disappointing favorability ratings in key primary states.

Still, Christie’s advisers say there’s enough money and support to go around.

“We’re just kinda getting things going,” said Ray Washburne, a former national finance chairman for the Republican National Committee who now leads fundraising for Christie’s political action committee, Leadership Matters for America.

“(Jeb’s) been in the game longer. He’s also got the Bush family name and legacy that he’s drawing on. We’ve got to compete with that,” he said.

Washburne confirmed The New York Times report that Christie will attend upcoming fundraisers hosted by former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.

“There’s a tremendously deep pool of people,” he said. “There’s many, many more people to tap.”

Washburne declined to give a range of how much money they’ve raised so far or when they’ll announce their numbers, but he said those figures will show Christie has “a lot of supporters out in the country.”

Mike DuHaime, another close adviser to Christie, also argued the donor class is “not a finite pool.”

“An essential part of Gov. Christie’s appeal is his ability to bring new people into the political process, whether they be donors or activists. He has proven this ability time and again in the past, winning handily in a blue state. If he decides to run, it is clear he will have the resources to run an aggressive, winning race,” DuHaime said, he was quoted saying the same thing to the Times.

Christie, who’s been traveling to early presidential primary states, is in Washington this week to attend meetings for the Republican Governors Association, which he chaired last year, and the National Governors Association.

 

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Where is Hillary? Just Ask Boris.

IRELAND-US-DIPLOMACY-NATO-OSCEThe Republican National Committee is worrying about Hillary Clinton’s absence from the public arena at the moment. “We’ve noticed it. You’ve noticed it: Hillary Clinton is hiding,” the committee notes in a public memo. “Potential Republican presidential candidates are out in public, speaking to voters, and sharing their ideas. But Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be found.” Their point has resonated. Others parse the who, what, when and where of it all. “Come out, come out wherever you are,” Where in the world is Hillary Clinton? Over the past several weeks, she has been behaving like a reclusive third-world dictator some claim.,”

Journalist and author Sharyl Attkisson wonders why Mrs. Clinton who once erroneously claimed she was shot at in a Bosnian war zone,  isn’t scrutinized as closely as NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who falsely claimed he encountered enemy fire in the skies over Iraq. It’s ironic, Ms. Attkisson told NewsMax TV, that he could lose his career, “yet we didn’t care enough to have it matter with someone who became our Secretary of State.”

The GOP, meanwhile, points out that it has been 202 days since Mrs. Clinton held a press conference, and 184 days since offering a major interview. Mrs. Clinton had two public speaking engagements in Canada in late January, notable for a moment when she imitated Russia President Vladimir Putin. She is now said to be hard at work on a “modern, aggressive campaign.”

Accessibility to Clinton and her campaign is at a premium. So a tweet from the presumed Democratic nominee sounds more like a roar.

Clinton has taken to Twitter to weigh in on major issues of the day. She’s not prolific, she’s only tweeted six times this year, but she can be influential. Twitter allows her to choose if she wants to insert herself into the conversation, and when. It provides a way for her to generate a healthy dose of publicity in a news cycle without the immediate imperative to elaborate or answer questions. And, it allows her to ding opponents.

Clinton can launch a debate when she chooses, with as few words as she chooses. But there will come a point when the presidential hopeful will have to engage beyond 140 characters especially, as she starts to assume the role of the nominee and, by default, the new leader of the Democratic Party.

For now, though, the strategy appears to be working for the candidate who seems to prefer strategic silence to scrutiny.

“It doesn’t work for everyone, but it certainly works for her because she’s already got the stature, and she’s actually done a really good job not weighing in on everything, because then her voice gets diluted,” one Democratic media consultant said. “Every five times she doesn’t comment makes the one time she does that much more effective.”

Last week, for example, she addressed the vaccine controversy late in the day after a media storm had already consumed her potential GOP rivals. “The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids,” she wrote, using the hashtag “GrandmotherKnowsBest.”

“Social media moves fast, but slowing down can be a plus in certain situations, like Hillary Clinton’s. Because she has time, she doesn’t have to be the first to weigh in.  “She can wait, see how it’s playing out and where the pitfalls are. She can sit on her perch and watch the game go on and insert herself when she is ready.”

“The platform gives her a chance to insert herself into the discussion in a really easy way that doesn’t require the traditional trappings of a campaign, but does allow her to get her words into the discussion,” he says. “Twitter is, in some ways unique, such as it’s like a press room, the place where the media discussion happens.”

Last month, during congressional debate over a spending measure that included revisions to the financial reform law, Clinton decided to enter the conversation that had been dominated by Elizabeth Warren. “Attacking financial reform is risky and wrong,” she tweeted. “Better for Congress to focus on jobs and wages for middle class families.”

Republicans don’t want Clinton to get away with this social media strategy for much longer, especially as a potentially divisive and long primary builds up on their side. This week, the Republican National Committee launched a “Hillary’s Hiding” campaign, tracking the number of times her campaign has declined to comment in articles and her lack of public appearances, especially in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

“If she wants to lead the American people, surely she can face the American people,” Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer in a statement.

Clinton is reportedly expected to meet with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson during his visit to New York City on Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. It should be an interesting meeting as the London Mayor once wrote in the Uk’s Daily Telegraph in November 2007, when Mrs Clinton looked the favourite to win the 2008 presidential election, Mr Johnson mused about whether he could support her candidacy.”She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” he noted.

Perhaps more damaging than his colourful remarks about her appearance was Mr Johnson’s conclusion that he thought Mrs Clinton should win in 2008 because it would bring Bill Clinton back to the White House:

For all who love America, it is time to think of supporting Hillary, not because we necessarily want her for herself but because we want Bill in the role of First Husband. And if Bill can deal with Hillary, he can surely deal with any global crisis.

Mr Johnson also made a reference to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Vince Foster, a close friend of Mrs Clinton’s who killed himself with a gun in 1993.

Some opponents of the Clintons have suggested that he may have been killed and they had a hand in his death – a theory refuted by multiple official investigations.

In his column, Mr Johnson referred to “worrying allegations” about “the anomalies in the position of poor Vince Foster’s gun”.

He also said Mrs Clinton appeared to have spent her eight years as First Lady behaving like “a mixture between Cherie Blair and Lady Macbeth, stamping her heel, bawling out subordinates and frisbeeing ashtrays at her erring husband”.

When reminded about his eight-year-old comments by ITV News, Mr Johnson said: “I’m delighted to be able to meet Senator Clinton. I’m sure that whatever I’ve said in the past will be taken by the Senator who is a very distinguished politician in the light hearted spirit in which it was intended.”

Even his efforts to make amends may cause new issues.

While Mrs Clinton was once a senator from New York, and therefore entitled to be called “Senator Clinton”, that title was overtaken by her work as US Secretary of State.

Americans universally refer to her as “Secretary Clinton”, which may have been the title Mr Johnson was grasping for.

How much longer will Hillary be in hiding? Maybe we’ll just have to ask Boris after their meeting.

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Romney Steps Up Efforts To Assemble Winning Campaign Team

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney, after revealing to donors just days ago he’s considering a third presidential bid, has aggressively cranked up his outreach to political allies, leaving Republican operatives with the impression that he, indeed, is likely to join the 2016 horse race.

Calls from Romney went to several other boldface names in Republican politics, including Ryan; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the state’s former governor, John Sununu; Meg Whitman, chief executive at Hewlett-Packard Co.; Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz; two former senators, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Jim Talent of Missouri; and David Kochel, Romney’s senior Iowa strategist in both of his previous campaigns.

One long-time adviser who has spoken to Romney in the last few days said, “It is “very likely” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee will announce a 2016 campaign for president in the next three to four weeks.

Fred Malek, the self-made billionaire who serves as finance chairman for the Republican Governors Association, said Tuesday he believes both Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will seek the GOP nomination next year.

“They’ve taken this forward a lot faster and a lot further than I would have imagined,” Malek said in an interview “And I don’t think they would have done that unless they have a serious intent on moving ahead.”

Others close to Romney who for months denied interest in another White House campaign are pushing back on the notion that a 2016 bid is inevitable.

“I would not say he is reassembling his [2012] staff. He is giving it a lot of thought and a lot of effort,” a senior Romney aide said. “He is talking to a lot of people. This is Mitt Romney’s decision.”

But the developments show Romney actively checking the pulse of the party and inching ever-closer to a decision one he’ll likely have to make soon.

After revealing to donors last week that he was weighing a bid, Romney has been busy phoning GOP leaders as well as former supporters from his unsuccessful 2012 bid. This includes calls to advisers and insiders in New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary.

Veteran New Hampshire GOP operative Tom Rath, an adviser to Romney’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, said he spoke to Romney by phone recently and “he’s taking a hard look at it.”

He added, “He’s leaning towards making another [presidential] run.”

Rath said he committed himself to Romney should the winner of the 2012 New Hampshire GOP primary make a third run.

“He’s asking his people to hold in place until he makes a decision, which those of us who worked for him before are willing to do,” Rath said. “It was a nice call, and we agreed that we’d be speaking again soon.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., also confirmed Tuesday that Romney has reached out to her. “He is very enthusiastic,” she said.

In his phone calls, Romney is emphasizing to them that his wife Ann and their five sons are “fully on board” with another campaign; and that if he runs, he will do things “very differently.”

Romney is said to believe that with the exception of Bush, the other members of the Republican field do not have the experience, fundraising ability or institutional footing to build a truly national operation, as he has done twice; and that he is better positioned to defeat likely Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton than Bush would be.

But as the longtime adviser cautioned, “The egg timer is on,” with “the sub-primary” already in full swing and major financial donors receiving calls “every hour” from Romney’s potential GOP rivals.

Another Romney aide said that the former Massachusetts governor has a short window to make a decision on a presidential bid at most, a month.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has invited Romney to speak at its winter meeting near San Diego this week. Bush, who will be in California this week for fundraising events, was also invited to the RNC event but has no plans currently to attend the meeting.

Elsewhere. Romney’s 2012 running mate Rep. Paul Ryan  decided to end speculation about his own entry into the race.

“After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to run for president,” Ryan said in a statement. “Our work at the House Ways and Means Committee over the next few years will be crucial to moving America forward, and my job as Chairman deserves undivided attention.”

 

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Wasserman Schultz Draws Criticism for Comparing Walker’s Policies to Domestic Violence

Debbie Wasserman SchultzDemocratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Wednesday blasted Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wis.) policies, seemingly comparing them to acts of domestic violence.

“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality,” she said at a roundtable discussion about women’s issues at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

“What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch,” Wasserman Schultz added.

Her comments drew heavy blowback from Republicans and even the campaign of Walker’s Democratic challenger, Mary Burke.

“That’s not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used, to point out the clear differences in this contest,” Stephanie Wilson, spokeswoman for Burke’s gubernatorial campaign, told the newspaper.

“There is plenty that she and Governor Walker disagree on, but those disagreements can and should be pointed out respectfully.”

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch called the comments “absolutely hideous” and the motive behind them “despicable.”

“Talk about desperate,” tweeted Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Spicer riped the congresswoman, arguing that the DNC needs a new speechwriter. He even joked about whether the DNC had hired a former speechwriter for Vice President Biden, who’s known for using blunt language.

RNC press secretary Kirsten Kukowski also tweeted that Wasserman Schultz “crossed the line” in Wisconsin, saying it “shows how much [Democrats] are flailing.”

A deputy communications director at the DNC, Lily Adams, rejected the idea that Wasserman Schultz was belittling victims of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue and the Congresswoman (Wasserman Schultz) was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience.”

Wasserman Schultz attacked Walker’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage. She also slammed Walker for signing a bill in 2012 that would prevent people subjected to employment discrimination from seeking punitive and compensatory damages in state court.

Democrats have also criticized Walker and Republicans for passing tighter regulations on abortion.

With Burke and Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, the attorney general candidate, at the top of their ticket, Democrats are eager to turn out their base among women voters Nov. 4. The latest Marquette University Law School poll shows both Democrats are leading among women voters.

Walker and Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, the Republican candidate for attorney general, have leads among men.

Wasserman Schultz said the Burke-Walker matchup is a “major race” for Democrats.

“She has run a campaign from beginning to now that is exactly on track to make sure she’s elected governor, a slow rolling boil that will eventually reach a crescendo that will send her to the governor’s office,” Wasserman Schultz said.

Wasserman Schultz’s remarks set off a minor political firestorm that built over the hours, with the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association delivering scathing statements. RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho called the remarks “appalling and shameful.

 

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Hillary 2016 Bid Receives Boost from Key Supporter

Hillary 2016Haim Saban, a multibillionaire media mogul, said Monday he is prepared to spend “as much as needed” to get Hillary Clinton into the White House in 2016.

While it is no secret that Saban, the head of Univision and a prodigious Democratic money man, is excited about the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016, these recent comments up the ante of his support.

“I think she would be great for the country and great for the world, so on issues that I care about she is pristine plus, and I think she is ready plus plus and I hope that she makes the right decision,” Saban said.

Saban was a sizable Clinton supporter in 2008, spending and raising over $100,000 for the former senator. With the rise of super PACs, however, the media mogul will be able to do much more to help Clinton.

Supreme Court decisions in the last six years have allowed private citizens to exert more influence in politics by giving money to outside organizations that in turn work to get a certain candidate elected. And with a handful of super PACs already working to urge Clinton to run for president, Saban has a number of avenues for his large fortune.

Saban said earlier this year that a Clinton presidency would be a “dream,” and told an Israeli newspaper in December 2013 that he will “pitch in with full might” to get Clinton elected in 2016.

In addition to his political contributions to Clinton, Saban has donated between $10 and $25 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

The irony in Saban’s claim is that last week  Clinton denounced outside money in politics, stating that she would consider backing a constitutional amendment to limit outside influences.

“I would consider supporting an amendment among these lines,” Clinton said responding to a question during a Facebook question-and-answer session. “That would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizen’s (sic) United decision.”

Clinton is widely considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and has admitted in the last few months that she is seriously considering a bid.

“Obviously she has a life to lead and she is going to be a grandmother soon, so all of that will obviously be taken by her into consideration,” Saban said about the prospect the Clinton runs.

Saban, who was born in Egypt and raised in Israel, is worth an estimated $3.5 billion and now works as the executive chairman of the company that owns Univision, the massively popular Spanish-language broadcaster.

Republicans and some nonpartisan observers have questioned whether someone so closely tied with a major American broadcaster should be so chummy with a prospective presidential candidate.

Univision is a major partner in a key Clinton foundation program, Too Small to Fail, which encourages parents to talk with their kids at a young age. Clinton’s partnership with Univision is focused on encouraging Hispanic families and caregivers to speak in either Spanish or English with their children as a way to develop language skills.

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee called out the partnership as an avenue for “2016 propaganda,” while Raul Reyes wrote a column in February that questioned whether the “Hillary-Univision deal cross(es) a line.”

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