Kasich Sets Date to Launch White House Bid

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) “plans to launch his presidential bid on July 21 in Columbus, hoping his strength in the quintessential swing state will help him win over Republican voters who aim to take back the White House in 2016,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“The idea of Kasich’s candidacy has excited some voters and intrigued national reporters, who praise his candor and pragmatism. He’s making regular trips to early-primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina, and he first visited Iowa last week.”

Texas Attorney General Bucks Gay Marriage Ruling

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written opinion that county clerks in Texas “who have religious objections to same-sex marriage can opt out of issuing such licenses — but they should be prepared to face fines or legal challenges,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“In the opinion, which is meant to serve as guidance for clerks and public officials now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, Paxton said that pro bono lawyers are ready to help such gay marriage opponents defend their decisions.”

Biden’s Sons Urged Him to Run for President

Wall Street Journal: “When deciding whether to run for office, Vice President Joe Biden has made it a practice to seek his family’s counsel. That advice has included at least two members of his immediate family—his sons—urging him to run for president in 2016, Biden friends and advisers say.”

“The Biden family’s wishes add an intriguing wrinkle to a Democratic presidential race that has unfolded in unpredictable ways. But a White House official said speculation about the vice president’s political future was premature during this tough time for the family.”

Cruz and Rove in Dispute Over Bush Donation

“The spat between Sen. Ted Cruz and GOP strategist Karl Rove escalated late Sunday, with Cruz dusting off an email exchange from 2009 to refute Rove’s denial of claims in his forthcoming book,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

“Cruz asserted in his book that Rove was angry that he’d secured a donation and endorsement from former President George H.W. Bush, and that Rove said Bush’s advanced age made his judgment unreliable. The emails Cruz released don’t support the ageism allegation. But they do show Rove explicitly saying the endorsement would anger Bush library donors and supporters of state Rep. Dan Branch, who was also angling to replace Abbott, something Rove denied earlier today.”

Christie’s Nothing-Left-to-Lose Campaign

“When Chris Christie launches his presidential campaign Tuesday, it won’t look anything like the one he once envisioned,” Politico reports.

“Gone is the idea of an expansive, state-by-state primary election strategy. Iowa, despite the early visits and Christie’s cultivation of a relationship with Gov. Terry Branstad, is probably out the window, too. And forget about the prospect of a cash-flush campaign: the New Jersey governor is now expected to raise just a fraction of what his top opponents will rake in.”

“In a sign of how far Christie’s fortunes have fallen, he spent part of this weekend personally calling around to home state Republican legislators to nail down their support for his now long-shot presidential bid.”

Jeb Bush’s Business Dealings Raise Questions

Washington Post: “Today, as he works toward his run at the White House, Bush touts his business experience as a strength that gives him the skills and savvy to serve as the nation’s chief executive. He has said he “worked my tail off” to succeed. As an announced candidate, Bush soon will be making financial disclosures that will reveal recent business successes and show a substantial increase in his wealth since he left office as Florida governor in 2007.”

“But records, lawsuits, interviews and newspaper accounts stretching back more than three decades present a picture of a man who, before he was elected Florida governor in 1998, often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk.”

Christie Enters Presidential Race as Underdog

When Gov. Chris Christie enters the race for president this week, he’ll do so as an underdog, the AP reports.

“The launch of the Republican governor’s White House campaign is the culmination of years of groundwork that began even before his landslide re-election to a second term as governor in 2013, but one nearly felled by scandal and a descent from his standing as one of the nation’s most popular state leaders to a politician whose approval ratings have reached record lows at home. It’s a reality Christie and his supporters are ready to embrace, not that they have a choice.”

Trump Admits His Marriages Might Not Be Traditional

Donald Trump says that he supports “traditional marriage” but that gay people who might question whether his three marriages qualify as traditional “have a very good point,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Trump: “But, you know, I’ve been a very hardworking person. I’ve had—actually, I have a great marriage, I have a great wife now. My two wives were very good, and I don’t blame them. But I was working maybe, like you, 22 hours a day.”

Asked again what he would say to a married gay person questioning him on the issue, Trump said, “I really don’t say anything. I’m just, I’m just, I’m for traditional marriage.”

Trump Says Bush Takes Him Seriously

Donald Trump says that Jeb Bush, the front runner for the GOP presidential nomination in recent polls, views him as a serious political threat, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Trump: “Trust me, he takes me seriously.”

He added: “I actually felt bad because I hit him very hard one day. I really think he’s a nice man… I don’t know if I want him negotiating with ISIS. I think Trump will do a lot better.”

Huckabee Wouldn’t Enforce Gay Marriage Decision

Mike Huckabee suggested that if he were elected president in 2016, he would decline to enforce the Supreme Court decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Hcukabee: “I would say, when the Congress provides enabling legislation and the people’s representatives vote and it gets to my desk, then we’ll consider it. This was done through a court edict of five unelected lawyers, a part of a committee, who decided that they knew better than the legislators.”

Jindal Says Gay Marriage Is a Religious Liberty Issue

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said that his state will comply with the Supreme Court’s order legalizing same-sex marriage, Politico reports.

Said Jindal: “We don’t have a choice. Our agencies will comply with the court order.”

But he added: “I think it is wrong for the federal government to force Christian individuals, businesses, pastors, churches, to participate in wedding ceremonies that violate our sincerely held religious beliefs. We have to stand up and fight for religious liberty. That’s where this fight is going.”