George W. Bush Comments on 2016 Election

Former President George W. Bush “offered rare, and broad-ranging, remarks Saturday night about current national security threats and the 2016 presidential campaign to a large audience of Jewish donors, suggesting that sanctions on Iran should not be lifted, that his last name was a burden to his brother, the likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush, and that Hillary Rodham Clinton, while ‘formidable,’ was beatable,” the New York Times reports.

“He spoke dismissively of candidates who surrounded themselves with ‘sycophants’ and bemoaned a culture built around a single person, or even a party. The goal, he stressed, should be about serving the national interest.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You can’t let the process numb you to the point where you’re just a robot. Even though all the pressure is ‘Don’t gaffe, don’t deviate, be prepared, give the prepared thing,’ you’ve got to watch that, because you can just be boring and you can be vanilla and you can so sanitize yourself that you’re not yourself.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by Politico, on running for national office.

Candidate’s Nude Campaign Poster Skirts Japan Election Law

“Campaigning for Sunday’s second wave of quadrennial unified local elections has highlighted a legal loophole that allows candidates to go to extremes — including nudity — to gain votes,” the Japan Times reports.

“In contrast with the ubiquitous portrait shots preferred by most candidates, the campaign poster for Teruki Goto, an independent running for the Chiyoda Ward Assembly in Tokyo, went viral after it showed him posing nude against a Rising Sun flag motif while raising a katana over the Imperial Seal, his genitals covered by his name.”

“According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the use of nudity is not banned because there are no restrictions on poster design in the Public Offices Election Law. All posters are legal as long they bear the name of the candidate and are posted on the designated boards.”

Snyder Set to Enter Presidential Race

Michiagn Gov. Rick Snyder (R) “may be the newest GOP candidate for the White House,” the Guardian reports.

“Snyder mingled with donors at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Friday and told at least one attendee that he was a candidate.”

Said former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman: “I met with Rick Snyder yesterday. He’s running. He’s running.”

Scott Walker Running on Faith

“Scott Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher, learned a lot about being a politician by going to church,” the New York Times reports.

“He was introduced to glad-handing while greeting worshipers beside his father after Sunday services. His confidence as a public speaker began at 2, when he delivered a Christmas greeting from the pulpit, and it blossomed when he preached occasional sermons as a teenager. And now, Mr. Walker’s lifelong church involvement may be a powerful asset as he positions himself to run for the Republican presidential nomination and focuses on early primary and caucus states dominated by evangelical voters.”

Williams Embellished Reporting At Least 11 Times

“A months-long internal investigation of Brian Williams by NBC News has turned up 11 instances in which the anchorman publicly embellished details of his reporting exploits, according to a person familiar with details of the probe,” the Washington Post reports.

“It’s not clear when, or even if… findings about Williams will be made public. Although the investigation could be a critical factor in whether NBC decides to bring Williams back, it could also remain confidential as a condition of any potential severance agreement, an NBC journalist said on Friday.”

Bill Seeks to Block Steve King from Legislating

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) “proposed a bill this week that would block the courts from hearing cases that could legalize same-sex marriage, so Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has proposed a (satirical) bill to block King from legislating,” the Huffington Post reports.

“Polis’ office issued a press release on Friday announcing the Restrain Steve King from Legislating Act, playing off King’s Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act. Polis’ fake bill would prevent King from ‘abusing taxpayer dollars by substituting the judgments of the nation’s duly serving judicial branch of government with his own beliefs.'”

Gay Marriage Becomes Tricky Issue for GOP

“Republican presidential hopefuls are struggling with how to position themselves on same-sex marriage, an issue that is bedeviling a party hoping to avoid social controversies as the 2016 election approaches,” the Washington Post reports.

“Rapidly changing public opinion has forced much of the field to recalibrate their pitches. Early front-runners have sought balance between the GOP base and the broader electorate — saying that they have no problem with gay people but oppose a national right to gay marriage and favor strong legal protections for business owners who do not want to serve same-sex ceremonies.”