March, 2015

Graham Sees Pathway Forward in Iowa

“After his third venture into Iowa testing the waters for a presidential bid, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham is convinced he sees an opening for himself in the 2016 race,” the Des Moines Register reports.

Said Graham: “At the end of the day, I think there’s a pathway forward for a guy like me. Whether I finish first or 10th, at least I had a chance here.”

“Asked which GOP competitors he considers most formidable, Graham, 59, mentioned former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio — in that order.”

What’s the Best Way to Use Bill Clinton?

New York Times: “But even if his step has slowed, Mr. Clinton is hungering once again to play a central role in his wife’s presidential campaign. And Hillary Rodham Clinton’s advisers are once again grappling with how to deploy Mr. Clinton, a strategic imperative that was executed so poorly in 2008 that it resulted in some of the worst moments of her campaign.”

“In that race, the former president was at times a frustrated and unpredictable presence, operating on his own, calling up some of his wife’s aides to second-guess strategy and shifting the news media’s focus from her to him with stray remarks, such as when he set off African-American anger by diminishing Barack Obama’s success in South Carolina.”

“This time, advisers and political associates say both Clintons understand how critical it is to harness both the rare gifts and rash impulses of a former president on behalf of a potential one.”

Gilmore Says He’d Be Better

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) said his party’s likely candidates for the next presidential election “look lost on two key issues — foreign policy and the economy,” The Hill reports.

Said Gilmore:”What makes me different? As the former governor of Virginia, I actually ran one of the major states in this country. Secondly, none of the other potential candidates knows anything about foreign policy, whereas I do.”

Pence Will Seek Clarification of Religious Freedom Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), “scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm,” told the Indianapolis Star that “he will support the introduction of legislation to ‘clarify’ that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.”

Associated Press: “Hundreds of people, some carrying signs reading ‘no hate in our state,’ gathered Saturday outside the Indiana Statehouse for a boisterous rally against a new state law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people.”

Huckabee Wants Term Limits for Supreme Court

Mike Huckabee called for “the imposition of term limits on U.S. Supreme Court justices, saying that the nation’s founders never intended to create lifetime, irrevocable posts,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Huckabee: “Nobody should be in an unelected position for life. If the president who appoints them can only serve eight years, the person they appoint should never serve 40. That has never made sense to me; it defies that sense of public service.”

Ted Cruz Leads the Talk Radio Primary

Politico: “Tens of millions of listeners — and potential GOP primary voters — tune in each week to the biggest right-wing radio hosts, who hold forth on the merits and demerits of the various 2016 Republican hopefuls as keenly as they spit invective about Barack Obama and the Democrats. Many of them are big fans of the Texas senator, if not outright supporters. Most are holding their cards close, refusing to hug any candidate too tightly, be it in the spirit of equanimity or out of fear of alienating some listeners.”

“But nearly all the kings and queens of the conservative airwaves express admiration for a man almost universally despised by his Senate colleagues and dismissed by the mainstream media: Cruz. And they are equally clear about who they do not like: Mushy ‘progressives’ like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.”

Rubio Will Soon Announce White House Bid

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “is nearing an announcement of his presidential campaign — it now seems to be just a matter of when and where exactly it’ll happen,” the Washington Post reports.

“Aides to the senator don’t deny reports first published late Friday by the Tampa Bay Times that he’s reserved space at Miami’s iconic Freedom Tower for a possible announcement on the afternoon of April 13. A team of Rubio advisers is traveling to Miami next week to put finishing touches on the anticipated rollout — and their tasks will include picking the spot where the senator and his family can make the announcement.”

Adelson Upset With Bush Over Baker Comments

Sheldon Adelson “is said to be incensed” over former Secretary of State James Baker’s comments about Israel “and the lack of pressure put on him by the Jeb Bush team before his address — a significant concern, given that Mr. Adelson has the resources to pour tens of millions of dollars into the Republican presidential primary,” the New York Times reports.

“But the flare-up could thrust Mr. Bush into conflict with some of the most hawkish voices in his party, including some leading Republican donors, and a constituency determined to demonstrate its strength in the primary.”

Religious Freedom Law Sparks Outrage in Indiana

Indiana faces “a growing backlash over a religious-freedom law that has drawn a hostile reaction from defenders of gay rights, who say it could result in discrimination based on sexual orientation,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Measures similar to that signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence this week are already in place at the federal level and in some 30 states. The law covers a relatively complex issue—setting a legal framework for those who claim a government rule or requirement is hampering their exercise of religion.”

The Indianapolis Star notes “the public firestorm has been fueled almost exclusively by critics — from gay rights activists to business leaders to celebrities— who see the law as a license to discriminate under the guise of religion. Oddly and conspicuously missing has been a strong counter-show of public support by the law’s backers, including evangelical Christians.”

GOP Lawmaker Suggests Mandatory Church Attendance

Arizona state State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R) raised the possibility of requiring church attendance for every American, the Arizona Republic reports.

Said Allen: “Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”

She added that she wished things were more like they were in the 1950s: “People prayed, people went to church. I remember on Sundays the stores were closed. The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools.”

Jeb Bush’s Nightmare Scenario

Jeb Bush “is expected to be a formidable contender for the GOP nomination. But there are signs that his biography will lead to struggles in the primary’s early stages. There are signs that a worst-case, crash-and-burn scenario for Bush is more realistic than even his skeptics recognize,” National Journal reports.

Jonathan Bernstein: “If party actors remain split or uncommitted and prefer to wait for tests of electoral strength, it’s easy to imagine Bush finishing fifth or lower in Iowa, failing to rally in New Hampshire, and then finding himself almost a non-factor in South Carolina. One thing’s for sure: Waiting for the Florida primary to come around isn’t going to be a successful nomination strategy.”