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Posts tagged ‘Chris Christie’

Jeb Bush Leads GOP Contenders Against Hillary Clinton.


By Drew MacKenzie

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the strongest potential GOP contender against the likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows that Bush only trails Clinton by a margin of 3  points, 47-44 percent while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is close behind with a 4-point deficit, 46 percent to 42 percent.

Clinton, who has not yet decided whether she will run, leads Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky by 47-42 percent and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by 48-43 percent.

The former secretary of state is well clear of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by an 8-point gap, 48-40 percent, and she has an 11-point margin over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 51-40 percent.

“At this point, the contrast for 2016 is pretty stark, Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “If Hillary Clinton runs, Democrats are favored to keep control of the White House. If she doesn’t run, voters are more inclined to vote for the GOP nominee.”

When it comes to who is the most favored of the potential Republican candidates for president, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field with 18 percent support compared to 15 percent for Bush, 14 percent for both Christie and Paul, and 11 percent for Cruz.

Rubio received 6 percent while Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had 5 percent each, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had 4 percent.

The survey was conducted among 1,152 registered voters from March 6 to 9 and has an overall margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Feds Step Up Probe Into Christie’s Aide in Bridge Scandal.


Two investigators have visited the home of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, as federal prosecutors appear to be actively investigating the role that the governor’s aides played in the bridge-gate scandal.

According to court documents, Stepien was not home at the time, and his lawyer Kevin Marino has declined a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to interview Stepien, according to NJ.com.

Marino admitted that Stepien is under federal investigation in the probe surrounding the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge as political payback for the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.

The lawyer said Stepien was first contacted by an FBI agent in mid-January by phone seeking an interview. Stepien, who worked with Christie on both his campaigns for governor and had been his pick to lead the New Jersey Republican Party, turned down the request.

In mid-February, the court documents showed that the FBI agent and a criminal investigator from the U.S. Department of Justice visited Stepien’s home in Princeton.

The documents said, they “questioned his landlord about his conduct and his character —  was he was married, a rowdy tenant, did he pay his rent on time — and left behind their calling cards, which identified them as criminal investigators and left no doubt as to the nature of their investigation.”

The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, confirmed last month that his office was looking into the lane closings, according to The New York Times.

Christie has cut ties with Stepien and fired his former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who sent an email calling for traffic problems on the bridge last year.

Stepien’s lawyer claimed in the court documents that because his client is being investigated by federal authorities, he should not have to comply with a subpoena demanding that Stepien hand over documents to a state legislative committee also probing the traffic jam.

Stepien has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in declining to cooperate with the panel, which asked him to turn over calendars and electronic devices that might show communications regarding the closings.

Kelly is also refusing to comply with a subpoena on Fifth Amendment grounds. Both their cases will be heard in a Trenton courtroom next week, the Times reported.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Boehner Snub at CPAC Highlights Party Rift.


Image: Boehner Snub at CPAC Highlights Party Rift

By Elliot Jager

The absence of an invitation to House Speaker John Boehner to take part in this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference reflects a rift between “movement ” and “establishment” conservatives, The Washington Times reported.

The conference, which takes place in Maryland on March 6-8, will hear from establishment figures such as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, among others.

Boehner, though, seems to symbolize the rift between movement and government conservatives who are increasingly divided over tactics for promoting the conservative agenda, according to the Times.

He last addressed the gathering in 2010.

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Tea party activist Jenny Beth Martin has initiated a “Fire the Speaker” petition that has garnered 93,000 signatures.

Party strategist Ford O’Connell said, “There are not enough curse words in the English language to describe how movement conservatives think of John Boehner.” He added, “They see him as only slightly better than President Obama.

“John Boehner is wise not to attend CPAC because he does not want to become a distraction and fodder for the news media by highlighting the rift between establishment conservatives and the movement conservatives,” O’Connell said.

Republican strategist Mike McKenna said Boehner’s opponents are overwrought.

“In about two years, folks on the right are going to be complaining about whoever the next speaker is and remembering Boehner fondly. They are angry at the world. For some reason, they have focused some of this anger at Boehner. I have no clue why.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Jeb Bush May Be GOP’s Best Hope for President.


Image: Jeb Bush May Be GOP's Best Hope for President

By Melanie Batley

All eyes are set on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to see whether he might throw his hat into the ring for the 2016 presidential campaign, a prospect many in the GOP believe could give the party its strongest rival to Hillary Clinton.

People close to the Republican say he is considering a bid more seriously than ever before, and believe his record and personality could be just the right combination to give him star appeal across the country, according to The Hill.

“I’ve never seen him so seriously considering a run for higher office,” Slater Bayliss, a Florida GOP lobbyist and former Bush aide, told The Hill. “He’s legitimately going through a very methodical, thoughtful process to come to a decision.”

The Hill reports that many party strategists believe Bush could transform the electoral map, “turning blue states purple and purple states red.”

On the other hand, the paper says, a third Bush in the White House could strike voters as too “dynastic,” an obstacle that Bush has recently acknowledged.

Nevertheless, Bush appears capable of leading on the key issues expected to define the 2016 campaign, including immigration and education reform. His multicultural family could also be an asset; his wife is from Mexico, and he speaks Spanish fluently, two things that could help the GOP capture the crucial Latino vote, according to The Hill.

Meanwhile, polls are showing that other potential establishment front-runners, such as N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have seen their star power fade to the possible benefit of Bush.

In the last few months, Bush has been careful to say he has decided whether to run. He has said he is deferring a decision until later in the year and would only consider running if he could do so “joyfully” and in an environment without much acrimony.

Allies are hoping he will make the decision in favor of jumping in, and do so soon, according to The Hill.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Christie Agenda Hampered as Former Democratic Allies Turn on Him.


To push his first-term agenda, Republican Governor Chris Christie had no greater booster than Senate President Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey’s top-ranking elected Democrat.

When Christie wanted to make state workers contribute more toward pensions and benefits, Sweeney, an ironworkers union organizer, stepped up with a bill. To drum up voter support for $750 million in borrowing for university construction, Sweeney, who never attended college, hit the campus tour circuit.

Now, as Christie seeks backing from the legislature’s majority Democrats to further cut pensions that constrain his record $34.4 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2015, Sweeney is casting himself more as foe than enabler.

“This has nothing to do with me getting along with him or not,” Sweeney, 54, said in a Feb. 25 interview. “It’s business.”

The chill comes amid state and federal investigations of the administration’s links to intentional traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Christie, a potential presidential candidate, is seeking a policy victory to reverse sliding approval. He also is looking for bragging points as chairman and chief fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association in a year in which 36 states will elect chief executives.

More Cutbacks

Sweeney is the one New Jersey politician with the clout to make both the legislature and labor swallow a sequel to Christie’s first-term benefits cutbacks, which included a higher retirement age and bigger employee contributions to health insurance and the pension plan. Sweeney on Feb. 24 said another round isn’t negotiable.

“He’s saying, ’I don’t feel like giving anymore, especially to a weakened governor,’” said Matthew Hale, a political-science professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange.

Since Christie, 51, began his second term last month, Sweeney has soured:

The governor’s inaugural address, the burly lawmaker said, was “long on rhetoric and short on solutions.”

His handling of Hurricane Sandy aid: a “colossal failure.”

On another Christie proposal, a 10 percent income-tax cut, Sweeney told reporters Feb. 24: “You gotta be kidding me.”

Not Shy

Sweeney, like Christie, isn’t afraid to speak his mind. A resident of West Deptford, a Philadelphia suburb, Sweeney entered public service after his daughter was born with Down syndrome, because he wanted to improve laws and services for children with special needs. He served on his county’s governing board and was elected to the Senate in 2001. He has been re- elected three times, and has been president since 2010.

Since 2006, the lawmaker had been pushing pension changes over the objections of members of his party, who are typically backed in New Jersey elections by public unions.

Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, wouldn’t hear of it, telling workers at a rally in front of the Statehouse that he would fight for them.

In the Feb. 25 budget speech, Christie said New Jersey’s pension system is underfunded by $52 billion after a decade of expanded benefits and missed payments. He signed a law in 2011 requiring the state to make one-seventh of its pension contribution in fiscal 2012, then raise the payment each year until it reaches the full annual amount, $5.5 billion, in 2018.

Creative Invective

Christie ousted Corzine in the 2009 election as voters rejected the one-term Democrat’s handling of the economy. The first Republican elected New Jersey governor since 1997, Christie and Sweeney made an agreement in June 2011 on a plan to curb pension costs. Unions picketed outside the Statehouse, while members hissed and booed inside as Sweeney testified on the measure before a legislative panel.

A month later, when Christie removed millions of dollars of Democratic add-ons to his second budget, Sweeney called him a bully, a punk and “a mean old bastard.” Christie told reporters two weeks later that he held no grudges because of the remarks, and he said together they had done “amazing things.”

“Senator Sweeney and I have a passionate relationship,” Christie said then. “When you have a passionate relationship like that, sometimes people get overemotional, and I think Senator Sweeney’s comments of two weeks ago are probably an example of that. We have a good relationship and we’re friends.”

The pension and benefits bill “never would have happened without Steve Sweeney’s vision and his leadership,” he said.

Taking Credit

Christie’s first-term successes were made possible because of alliances with prominent Democrats. Such ties stretch to Sweeney’s South Jersey base and its major political fundraiser, George Norcross. In the north, Christie is aligned with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. The governor worked with DiVincenzo on the pension changes and with Norcross on reorganizing the state’s universities.

Sweeney, mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2017, made it clear this week that he wants credit for the 2011 retirement legislation.

“Let’s get it straight: It was my plan, not his,” Sweeney told reporters after Christie’s Feb. 25 budget address. “I was not his collaborator. He came along and worked on a plan that I believed in because I know pensions.”

2017 Race

Sweeney ceded a chance to challenge Christie last year to Barbara Buono, a Senate colleague from Metuchen who lost by 22 percentage points in November. In January, after e-mails showed a Christie aide suggested the bridge tie-ups in Fort Lee, whose Democratic mayor didn’t endorse the governor, Sweeney formed an investigatory committee with power to subpoena members of the executive branch.

“He’s been such a close ally of Christie over the past four years that he has to prove himself anew to the Democratic Party,” said Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.

Christie, in his budget speech, said the pension changes haven’t gone far enough, because costs continue to rise. He gave no specifics on what else was needed. Sweeney said the governor should focus on improving the economy to boost revenue, not cutting obligations.

“Sweeney saw his political star rising because of the ascendancy of Chris Christie, and that allegiance could carry him into the governor’s mansion,” said Brigid Harrison, a political professor at Montclair State University. “Now he recognizes that his alliance with Christie is detrimental. Over the next several years he’s going to make every effort to distance himself.”

Sweeney in recent months has adapted some of Christie’s public-relations strategy. Christie has his town-hall meetings; Sweeney this month started touring towns to draw attention to Sandy victims’ troubles.

Once a month, the governor hears from voters during an hour-long radio call-in show. In December, Sweeney began weekly “Twitter Thursdays,” using his social-media account to answer questions. He has about 2,500 followers; Christie has 439,000.

In a Dec. 12 exchange, one user asked who would be the victor in a Sweeney-Christie arm-wresting match. Sweeney, with apologies to the governor, said, “It’s only a competition if the other guy has a chance.”

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Albert Hunt: Obama, Christie Need to Reset Their Narratives.


There were several reports this month about the Affordable Care Act, most of them positive: Participation is up; the so-called risk corridors, which critics call a giveaway to insurance companies, will make the government money; and the law will increase labor demand.

But more attention has been lavished on the negative: Over a decade, the equivalent of 2.5 million workers will drop out of the labor force because there are alternative health-insurance options, and the employment mandate was postponed again.

Separately, the drumbeat continued around Chris Christie. The Republican governor of New Jersey held a marathon news conference more than five weeks ago as he fired top aides whom he blamed for causing huge traffic disruptions on the George Washington Bridge last autumn. Christie insisted he knew nothing about the closures, which allegedly were political retaliation against Democrats.

Few new facts emerged about the initial controversy. But there has been a rash of other allegations, some stretching back to the 51-year-old governor’s high school days.

These two story lines — one involving Democrats, the other about Republicans — share common elements; they entail significant political fallout. Obamacare, even as the results get better, will hurt Democrats, perhaps seriously, in this year’s congressional elections. And a blow has been delivered to the presidential aspirations of Christie, who just three months ago was virtually coronated by Time magazine as the Republicans’ great hope for 2016.

Both demonstrate that once a narrative is established in U.S. politics, it’s very hard to shake.

The proliferation and growing influence of social media can accelerate a news narrative, like these two stories, says Teddy Goff, who directed President Barack Obama’s digital strategy in 2012. Over time, however, social media also may help a countertheme prevail, he says. This has little to do with overhyped chatter about media bias. There are effective offsets to media partisanship: the Internet versus talk radio; Fox News versus MSNBC. The mainstream media’s only discernibly consistent bias is on cultural issues — abortion, gay rights, guns, race – - while a smaller-movement conservative news media, oblivious to balanced or fair journalism, effectively pounds messages that often end up in the mainstream media.

That message pounding, coupled with the Obama administration’s miscues — the White House still resists tapping a chief executive officer to run the health-care initiative — has locked in, for now, a negative view of Obamacare. This despite some good news: More than 10 million Americans have new or better health-insurance coverage than before; health-care costs are moderating; and reforms such as prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions are kicking in.

Optimists such as Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, think that once the kinks are worked out, Obamacare will become popular, much as Medicare and the prescription drug plan for seniors did. Still, as he acknowledges, “It’s taking a long time for people to understand” that the benefits outweigh the problems. Democrats running in November don’t have a long time.

Neither does Christie. Even if no new evidence emerges to contradict his proclamations of innocence, the damage may be irreversible. The governor’s appeal as a front-runner was that he could beat Hillary Clinton; his base is big-money Wall Street guys. As he gets hammered daily and now trails Clinton in presidential trial heats, the rationale and the base are eroding. He can’t shake the narrative.

It’s so embedded now that the best scenario for Christie is that he convinces voters that he had a bunch of second-rate top aides who engaged in political thuggery and that he had no clue what was going on. That’s not a compelling narrative for a would-be president.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Jindal Warns of ‘Silent War’ on Religion in Reagan Library Speech.


Image: Jindal Warns of 'Silent War' on Religion in Reagan Library Speech

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 08:29 PM

By Greg Richter

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted the “silent war” that he said is undermining the nation’s basic principles in a major speech Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Contrary to what liberals say, the Constitution was set up specifically for believers, Jindal, a Catholic who converted from Hinduism, said.

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“The American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war,” said Jindal, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016.

“It’s a war against the propositions in the Declaration of Independence: It is a war against the spirit that motivated abolitionism: It is a war against the faith that motivated the Civil Rights struggle: It is a war against the soul of countless acts of charity: It is a war against the conscience that drives social change: It is a war against the heart that binds our neighborhoods together: It is a war against America’s best self, at America’s best moment.

“It is a war — a silent war — against religious liberty.”

“This war is waged in our courts and in the halls of political power. It is pursued with grim and relentless determination by a group of like-minded elites, determined to transform the country from a land sustained by faith into a land where faith is silenced, privatized and circumscribed.”

Jindal, 42, is expected to be among a group of Republicans seeking the presidential nomination in 2016, and many see his speech at the library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of the groundwork for such a run.

He follows other likely GOP contenders Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Jindal released the text of his speech before delivery. He said there was no better place than the Reagan Library to make his point because Reagan had said “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few, but the universal right of all God’s children.”

“When he said this, he was not expressing a strictly personal belief in the nature of man as a created being, as a child of God” said Jindal. “He was reaffirming the most basic contention of the American founding, set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that we are a nation constituted in accordance with the ‘Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ and that we are a people ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.’”

Jindal reminded his audience that as far back as 1798, President John Adams had written to Massachusetts militiamen telling them, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

But he claimed that the “secular elites” understood that to take over America they must make war on its philosophy.

“This silent war is the real undercurrent driving politically fractious debates in a number of areas of policy,” he said. “But why is this war happening? What does it mean for the country and people of faith? Why does it represent such a fundamental challenge to our American identity and the exceptional history that makes our nation great?”

In answering his own questions, Jindal pointed to the court battle over craft store Hobby Lobby’s contention it should not have to provide the morning-after pill. The Green family that owns the stores believes the pill causes an abortion, and they object to its use on religious grounds.

He said Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose begins with a Bible verse, and that all of the stores close on Sundays. The company pays well above minimum wage and has increased salaries four years in a row. The family that runs it is committed to giving the majority of its wealth to philanthropy.

“None of this matters to the Obama administration,” he blasted. “The argument they have advanced, successfully thus far, is that a faithful business owner cannot operate under the assumption that they can use their moral principles to guide the way their place of business spends money.

“According to the administration’s legal arguments, the family that owns Hobby Lobby is not protected by the First Amendment’s ‘free exercise’ of religion clause.”

He pointed out the absurdity that Hobby Lobby — which has an offshoot company that sells Bibles — is considered a secular company, but Tyndal House, which prints Bibles, is not.

“Perhaps we should all start printing Bibles, so we can claim protection,” he said.

And he said he defended “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson and his family over Robertson’s controversial statements on homosexuality, not because Jindal is the governor of the state where the Robertsons live, but because “they have every right to speak their minds, however indelicately they may choose to do so.”

Jindal also raised the Hosanna-Tabor case in which the Obama administration argued that a Lutheran academy did not have the right to fire someone over a difference in beliefs. The Supreme Court unanimously threw out the government’s argument.

“So for the time being at least, the government doesn’t get to decide who can preach the gospel. But the important thing to note is that the government wanted to make that decision — that is truly offensive and frightening.”

He also brought up cases where bakers, photographers and others in the wedding industry have been told they must cater to same-sex unions.

“This assault will only spread in the immediate future,” Jindal said, foreseeing a time when believers who refuse to be cowed will be penalized for their views, denied membership in professional groups or even rejected from licenses.

“This is the next stage of the assault,” he said. “And it is only beginning.

Jindal was speaking the day after a legal challenge was filed to get Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage overturned.

“Today, an overwhelming majority of those who belong to a religious denomination in America — that’s more than half the country — are members of organizations that affirm the traditional definition of marriage,” he said. “All of those denominations will be targeted in large and small degrees in the coming years,” he predicted.

Jindal ended his speech by referring to President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he said that history shows “that nations that uphold the rights of their people — including the freedom of religion — are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful.”

“Well said, Mr. President. I couldn’t agree more,” said Jindal. “The president is very concerned about religious liberty.

“And also… if you like your religion, you can keep your religion.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Democrats Have 11 Videos Ready to Slam Christie on Bridge-gate.


Democratic Party strategists are focusing on a systematic strategy to undermine New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s national image by capitalizing on the backlash from the George Washington bridge scandal.

According to The New York Times, Democratic operatives reaching up to the highest levels of the party are using every opportunity to define Christie as a corrupt bully as they aim to sabotaging his chances of mounting a successful run for the White House.

Democrats have already created 11 different videos to capitalize on Christie’s links to the bridge-gate scandal. They are also organizing protests and news conferences in different parts of the country to dog Christie during his travels in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

“If Republican governors want to keep embracing him as their chair, as their model for the future, we’re happy to help them out,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told the Times.

Democrats have also resorted to attacking GOP candidates and lawmakers who have come to Christie’s defense, from a potential Senate candidate in New Hampshire to a New York congressman, according to The Times.

For example, when former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is considering a run for Senate in New Hampshire, defended Christie on television, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee immediately ridiculed him as being “defender-in-chief of scandal-ridden Chris Christie,” according to The Times.

The Democratic National Committee has issued 58 emails to the media about the Christie administration’s alleged acts of political revenge, while American Bridge, a Democratic research group, has issued 169 requests for internal documents from the Christie Administration, the Times reports.

The escalating attacks have begun to limit Christie’s ability to work on behalf of GOP candidates, with aides being forced to conceal the details of fundraisers and events. But key donors have so far said they will not turn their backs on him.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

GOP Eyes Scott Walker for 2016 as Christie’s Star Fades.


Image: GOP Eyes Scott Walker for 2016 as Christie's Star Fades

By Melanie Batley

Republican Party strategists say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker could be the new hope to lead the GOP presidential ticket in 2016 as the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal takes its toll on the presumed frontrunner, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Walker, according to pundits, carries the necessary appeal among conservatives to win a GOP primary, but his success in a blue state indicates he may be one of the few possible contenders capable of winning over independent voters in a general election, Politico reports.

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“Chris Christie took a big fall after bridge-gate. It makes sense that Scott Walker’s stock would rise,” Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist and Wisconsin native, told Politico. “I think he has as excellent a chance as anyone else in the GOP primary at this point.”

Walker was elected governor in 2010 and went on to survive a bruising recall fight in 2012 that was fueled by the unions who were irate over his proposed budget repair plan and changes to collective bargaining rights for state employees.

“Look at the guy — he got elected in Milwaukee County twice [as Milwaukee County Executive], then governor, then a recall election,” a former top Romney bundler told The Daily Beast. “He’s battle-tested.”

Walker currently faces a re-election battle against Democrat Mary Burke, the daughter of the founder of bicycle manufacturer Trek. He already has a significant financial advantage over Burke, having raised $4.6 million in the second half of 2013. Burke has just $1.3 million, $400,000 of which are her own funds.

“I’ve heard a lot of interest in Walker,” Charlie Black, veteran GOP strategist and adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, told Politico. He added that if Walker wins re-election, he’ll “have a great record not only in Wisconsin but a great electoral record, having won three times in five years in a blue state.”

Commentators say Walker is also unique for his solidly middle class image and status as a Washington outsider. Nevertheless, they say, the GOP field for 2016 remains wide open, and Christie’s national political profile could still recover.

“There are no frontrunners. There are six to 10 really good candidates,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, according to Politico. “I think we’ll have a very broad campaign group.”

Gingrich added, “Assuming that he survives the bridge problem, and I think he will, Christie is going to end up a very formidable candidate.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

SNL’s Lorne Michaels: Republicans Have Better Sense of Humor than Democrats.


Image: SNL's Lorne Michaels: Republicans Have Better Sense of Humor than Democrats

By Courtney Coren

Republicans can take a joke better than Democrats, according to “Saturday Night Live” creator and producer Lorne Michaels.

“Republicans are easier for us than Democrats,” Michaels said in an interview with New York Magazine, also published on Vulture.com. “Democrats tend to take it personally; Republicans think it’s funny.”

He added that the SNL writers don’t have a need to use the first family as their main source of material every week.

“This week, our cold open is about three big stories,” he explained. “We have Piers Morgan interviewing A-Rod, Chris Christie and Justin Bieber. We’re doing more of that kind of thing than stuff about Benghazi or the new budget agreement.”

“The country has lost interest in it. I can’t tell you why,” Michaels said. “It’s no less important, but in some way you can’t do healthcare more than twice, at which point there’s just nothing left.”

“But Jay Pharoah does a really good Obama,” he added.

New York Magazine’s Lane Brown asked why SNL tends to produce a lot of conservatives, particularly Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, Norm MacDonald, Colin Quinn, Jim Downey and Adam Sandler.

“Well, let’s put Victoria in a separate category,” Michaels explained. “When she arrived here, she was married to a fire-eater. Then she married an old boyfriend who was a cop. She was always deeply Christian.”

“I would say Norm is more cranky than political,” he added.

However, he said that SNL has never been about a particular political agenda.

“Our job — and it sounds too grand to say and none of us ever say it — is speaking truth to power,” he said. “Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.”

President Barack Obama is the first president since Ronald Reagan who hasn’t gotten as much air time.

“He was an actor, and the public already knew that, and they voted for him anyway,” Michaels said. “We couldn’t find a way in.”

SNL just hired a female black comedian in January after going without one since 2007, something the late night comedy show was criticized for, since there wasn’t anyone to play first lady Michelle Obama.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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