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Posts tagged ‘John McCain’

Republicans Brace for Sign that Jeb Bush May Run in 2016.


By all appearances, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a man on a mission.

His itinerary for the next several weeks includes stops in Tennessee, New Mexico and Nevada to appear with Republican candidates in this fall’s elections or help them raise money for their campaigns.

And then he speaks at a dinner ahead of a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting featuring several potential Republican presidential contenders at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave over $100 million to Republican candidates in 2012.

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

So what, exactly, is Jeb Bush up to? Could Bush, 61, the son of a U.S. president and the brother of another, quietly be laying the groundwork for a historic attempt to become the third member of his family to occupy the White House?

When Bush is asked if he will run in 2016, he deflects, saying he will decide by the end of this year based on family considerations and whether he thinks he can run “joyfully.”

Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, declined to comment.

But several other people close to him say that now more than ever, there are signs he might look past several potential hurdles – including polls that suggest Americans are not exactly enthralled with the idea of another President Bush – and seriously consider stepping into the fray.

At this point in previous election cycles when his name has surfaced, Bush has told friends, staffers and fellow Florida politicians that he would not run. However, he “has not given anyone the wave-off at this point” for 2016, said a Washington-based Republican strategist familiar with Bush’s discussions about the presidency.

To the contrary, this strategist said, Bush has in place an “inner circle” of fewer than a dozen people who are in regular contact with him weighing the pros and cons of running. “They are at the beginning of a very serious conversation.”

A former Bush campaign aide who remains in contact with the former governor said this year’s speculation is more warranted than that in previous years: “He’s really giving it true consideration. Possibly if you’d asked two years ago, we’d say, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t think he’d do this.’ But I think he’s giving it a real, serious look now.”

Former Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of housing and urban development during the presidency of Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, said that in Jeb Bush’s south Florida there is a growing belief among political observers that he is leaning toward joining what promises to be a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders.

Republican strategists said that Bush – whose eight years as Florida’s governor ended in January 2007 – could change the dynamic of the Republican nomination battle and provide a defining moment for a party struggling with a divide between conservative Tea Party activists and more moderate members of the Republican establishment.

There are no declared candidates yet, but the race for the Republican nomination appears to be shaping up as a contest largely among staunch conservatives favored by the Tea Party movement, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, libertarian Republican Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A more moderate potential candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been caught up in a political scandal that has made some Wall Street donors nervous about his prospects.

A campaign by Bush, a face of the party establishment, could challenge arguments of Tea Party activists and others on the right who see losses by John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections as reasons the party should nominate a more strictly conservative candidate.

For big-money Republican donors, strategist Matt Mackowiak said, Bush would represent a marquee name in U.S. politics that could attract the support beyond the far-right Republican base that will be needed to win a general election. He could also bring enough star power to vie against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who officials in both parties expect to run and win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Bush is the donor class’ first choice in his home state, said Florida Bankers Association president and Romney campaign bundler Alex Sanchez.

 

‘JEB IS THE EXCEPTION’

For pundits, political observers and history lovers, the prospect of a Bush-Clinton battle for the White House would be a dream matchup: a showdown between two branches of America’s political royalty.

Recent early polls have suggested that if he were to run, Jeb Bush would be weighed down by Americans’ lingering attitudes toward his brother, who left office in January 2009 as one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, nearly half of the voters surveyed said they “definitely would not” vote for Jeb Bush in 2016 – a level of disapproval matched only by Romney.

Even Bush’s mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, has been lukewarm about the notion of another son running for president.

“There’s no question in my mind that Jeb is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won’t, because he’ll get all my enemies, all his brother’s,” Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, told C-SPAN in January. She softened her stance in an interview with Fox News this month, saying that “maybe it’s OK” if Jeb were to run.

For a Republican Party desperate to broaden its appeal among the nation’s fast-growing and Democratic-leaning Hispanic population, a figure like Jeb Bush could be significant. He speaks Spanish and his wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Bush – who won 61 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote in his 1998 governor’s race, according to exit polls – has backed legal status, but not full citizenship, for undocumented immigrants. This compromise drew conservative fire when Bush’ promoted his book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” in 2013.

As governor, he also stressed using standardized test scores as metrics of school and teacher performances, an emphasis at the center of a nationwide debate in U.S. education. Bush, who runs an education foundation, has also promoted the idea of allowing parents and students a choice of which public school to attend.

Bush headlined a Republican National Committee fundraising lunch in southern California in February and spoke to a group of New York-area business leaders less than two weeks later. He also appeared in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisement for the Republican candidate in a Florida special congressional election, and campaigned with his son, George P. Bush, who is running for Texas Land Commissioner.

In the coming weeks Bush will raise money for or appear with a slate of Republicans up for re-election in 2014: Senator Lamar Alexander and Governor Bill Haslam in Tennessee, Governor Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Governor Brian Sandoval in Nevada.

Some Bush allies reject the idea that his recent activity reflects a building desire to run for president.

“People who know a lot aren’t talking, and the people who are talking don’t know. He’s made clear he’s going to be deliberate and methodical in the way he goes about this,” said former Florida congressman Tom Feeney, who ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Bush in 1994 and remains close with him.

Several Republican strategists and Bush loyalists said it would take less time for Bush to organize a full-scale campaign team than it would for someone like Walker or Cruz, thanks to his family’s experience and connections. They also dismissed concerns that Bush would have trouble running a modern campaign, given that he has not run for office since 2002 – before the age of Twitter and the Tea Party.

“Jeb is the exception,” said Mackowiak. “The time it takes to build a national finance operation for one of those other candidates? He only has to spend a fraction of that to get his together. … The clock is ticking for him, it’s just ticking more slowly.”

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Ron Paul: Putin ‘Has Some Law on His Side’ in Crimea.


Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says the United States is partially to blame for the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Speaking on the Fox Business Channel program The Independents, Paul accused the U.S. and the West of helping to overthrow Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovich. He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has invaded the Crimean peninsula portion of Ukraine, has “some law on his side” for his actions.

“This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble is pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government have contrived to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected,” Paul said.

“And they say everything that Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area.”

Story continues below video.

Paul compared the situation to the Americans’ presence at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. has a suspected terrorists. and a detention facility for suspected terrorists.

Host Matt Welsh asked Paul about Russia’s actions, which have included stacking its army along the border and taking over a Ukraine base in Crimea.

“I don’t think we should do all that threatening,” Paul said.

Welch interjected, saying he was referring to the Russians in his question.

“I know but we’re there,” Paul said. I know you were talking about the Russians. You listen to [Sens. Lindsey] Graham and [John] McCain, [they say] ‘Oh, now we can build our missiles in Russia’s backyard.’ No, I don’t think so.

“If you believe in limited government, everybody should have the right to minimize their government. There should be a right of secession. We loved secession when we seceded from Great Britain, and we loved secession when the Soviet Union broke up. So why not have the break up of these countries?”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jason Devaney

McCain Blasts Hagel for ‘Massive Failure’ of Intel on Ukraine.


Image: McCain Blasts Hagel for 'Massive Failure' of Intel on UkraineSen. John McCain is flanked by Sen. James Inhofe while questioning Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 5.

By Cathy Burke

Sen. John McCain tore into Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday for a “massive failure” of U.S. military intelligence in the days before Russian troops marched into Crimea, reports said.

Defense News reported that in a testy, nearly five-minute exchange during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, McCain and Hagel bickered over whether the Obama administration and European allies were aware that Russian President Vladimir Putin was about to invade the Crimean Peninsula.

The Obama administration had a “total misreading of the intentions of Vladimir Putin,”NBC News reports McCain said.

But Hagel shot back: “I don’t get into the specifics in an open hearing.”

Still, he insisted, “early last week we were well aware of the threats” posed by Russian troops to Ukraine — and that he’d met with NATO officials and Ukrainian defense officials last week to talk about it, NBC News reported.

“This wasn’t sudden or new,” Hagel said.

GOP senators also hammered Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey for a spending plan they charged would hamper the military.

Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, noted that the $496 billion defense budget represents a funding level equal to that of 2013 and 2014 — and more than $30 billion below the Pentagon’s funding in 2012, Defense News reported.

McCain sarcastically told Hagel “your timing is exquisite” in submitting the bare-bones budget plan “at a time when the world is probably more unsettled than it has been since the end of World War II,” noting tensions in Crimea, the collapse of Syrian peace talks, “China more and more aggressive,” North Korea test-firing missiles, “and the list goes on,” Defense News reported.

McCain also noted that China has just announced a 12.2 percent increase in its military budget, NBC News reported.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe also criticized President Barack Obama for spending $125 billion on his “energy and environment agenda” — money, Inhofe said, that could have been used to buy more than 1,000 F-35s, Defense News reported.

Hagel told the committee he had worked within the limits Congress set in its 2011 Budget Control Act and this year’s bipartisan budget accord.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

McCain: Putin Doesn’t Want Democracy Next Door.


Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t want democracy in Ukraine because he thinks it would set a bad example for Russians, Sen. John McCain said.

“Vladimir Putin does not want a democracy on his borders. That would be a very bad example, from his point of view, to be set for the Russian people,” the Arizona Republican told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday.

Last month, a protest movement by Ukrainians seeking closer ties with the European Union ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. In the last several days, as many as 16,000 Russian troops landed in the strategic Crimea region and demanded a surrender of Ukrainian forces.

Story continues below video.

McCain has had harsh words for President Barack Obama’s handling of the Russian invasion of Crimea. On Monday, he called the president “feckless,” and charged “nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

McCain defended his criticism, claiming Obama was incorrect when he said the Cold War had been over for 20 years.

“Maybe in the president’s eyes, but certainly not in Vladimir Putin’s eyes,” McCain said.

Russia was likely to keep Crimea, McCain conceded, and predicted, “It’s not going to change.” He said the United States needs to gauge what Putin’s future ambitions are “for the restoration of the Russian empire.” He maintained it was important to view Putin for what he is, and “not what we want him to be.”

“There is has been a fundamental misreading of Vladimir Putin, his intentions, and things that he will do. There is no doubt that he will not give up in Crimea because of his belief in the near abroad,” McCain said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Wanda Carruthers

Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer’s Hand.


Image: Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer's HandArizona Gov. Jan Brewer and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a Super Bowl host committee handover ceremony in New York.

By Todd Beamon

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious protection bill concerning gay rights because she was pressured by the state’s business community and the National Football League, which is scheduled to hold the Super Bowl in the state next year, political analyst Dick Morris told Newsmax late Wednesday.

“I think she vetoed the bill because of pressure from the Arizona business community,” Morris, who served as an aide to President Bill Clinton, told Newsmax in an email. “When Sen. Jeff Flake, a tea party conservative from Arizona, joined his colleague John McCain in urging a veto, it gave her political cover on the right to veto the bill,” Morris said.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

“I think the [National Football League] had a lot to do with it also,” he said. “By threatening to move the Super Bowl, they epitomized the harm that would flow to Arizona had she signed the bill.

“I don’t think she realistically had any choice. It became a jobs issue — and she had to veto the bill.”

In vetoing the legislation, Brewer said the controversial measure could “create more problems than it purports to solve.”

State Senate Bill 1062 would have allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as legal grounds for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customer. It was passed by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature last week.

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” Brewer said in a brief statement from her office as she announced her decision. “I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.”

She then attacked the bill as a broadly worded proposal that “could result in unintended and negative consequences.”

Brewer had come under mounting pressure to veto the measure after both McCain and Flake, both Republicans, opposed it. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, also spoke against the bill.

Three state Republicans who voted for the bill last week also reversed course and urged Brewer to veto it.

“I appreciate the decision made by Gov. Brewer to veto this legislation,” McCain said in a statement posted on his website. “I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful State of Arizona.”

Flake said on Twitter:

He added in a later post:

The legislation was backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage.

Cathi Herrod, the group’s president, said Brewer’s veto marked “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

The bill, she said, “passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

“Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits,” Herrod said. “Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”

Perhaps the strongest opposition to the legislation came from business leaders. Some who had opposed it threatened to boycott Arizona if Brewer approved it, similar to what many groups did after the state passed a tough anti-illegal immigration law in 2010.

That possibility worried some companies and business organizations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Among the companies opposing the bill were Apple, American Airlines, Marriott International, and Delta Air Lines.

The Arizona Super Bowl Committee also voiced its opposition to the bill, contending that it would “deal a significant blow” to the state’s economy, the Times reports.

The 2015 Super Bowl is scheduled to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, just outside Phoenix.

In addition, the Hispanic National Bar Association said on Wednesday that it would move its 40th annual convention, scheduled for September 2015 in Phoenix, to another city because of the legislation, the Times reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Ted Haggard: Brewer Right to Veto Bill.


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was right to veto a bill Wednesday that would have allowed business people to refuse service to gay couples, says an evangelical leader who was once caught up in a sex scandal with another man.

Ted Haggard told CNN after Brewer’s announcement that Christians, like everyone else, need to respect others.

“That was a broadly worded bill that had unintended consequences hidden in it that would have developed over the years,” Haggard told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Haggard was a mega-church pastor and president of the National Association of Evangelicals in 2006 when it was revealed that he had had a long-term sexual relationship with a male escort. Haggard was preaching and working against gay marriage when the allegations came to light.

Haggard told Burnett on Wednesday that it is “bigotry” for Christians to refuse to serve others based on a moral code.

“We as Christians are here to wash the feet of others and make life better, not to make life worse,” he said.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council disagreed. Sprigg told Burnett that current Arizona law doesn’t list gays as a protected class, so the new law would have given them added protections.

Sprigg said the battle won’t be over until the U.S. Supreme Court rules. It will take “a Roe v. Wade of same-sex marriage” before the fight will be over, he said.

Haggard responded, “There will be a Supreme Court decision that will make equality the law of the land.”

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage and pushed the legislation, said Brewer’s veto marked “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

The bill, she said in a statement, “passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

“Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits,” Herrod said. “Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo, appearing on MSNBC,  said the veto of SB1062 showed the will of the majority of Republicans to grant equality to same-sex couples.

Angelo’s group fights for gay rights within the GOP, and he said that even though it was Republicans who passed the bill, he was encouraged that it was vetoed by a Republican and that many powerful members of the party opposed it.

“I appreciate the decision made by Gov. Brewer to veto this legislation,” Republican Sen. John McCain said. “I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and as sure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful state of Arizona.”
McCain’s colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, thanked Brewer for her veto on Twitter:

Flake said in a later tweet:

Both senators had urged Brewer to veto the legislation.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the pressure on Brewer from big businesses and professional sports leagues is an example of how fundamental freedoms are being trampled.

“You create a stampede by spooking politicians and the public with misinformation,” Perkins said on Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File.”

“This is going to continue to be a major problem, and it’s going to spread across the country,” Perkins said. “It’s now going to be incumbent upon Gov. Brewer to say how she’s going to protect the religious freedom of thousands of Arizonians.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Cruz: Debt Ceiling ‘Trickery’ Shows Why Americans Hate Congress.


Senators and their “trickery” on last week’s vote on the debt ceiling was “a perfect illustration of everything that is wrong in Washington,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says.

“Republican leadership said, we want this to pass but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote ‘no’ and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it,” the Republican freshman senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday.

That “show vote,” Cruz continued, is the “sort of trickery to the constituents [which] is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.”

Urgent: Do you support Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for President? Vote Now 

Story continues below video.

The Senate last week approved the “clean” debt-ceiling bill, but two key Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas voted to end Cruz’s filibuster on the legislation.

Cruz had called for a 60-vote threshold to end debate on the measure, but after discussions among GOP senators on the floor of the chamber, McConnell and Cornyn came forward to cast “aye” votes to end debate — a move called “cloture.”

A total of 12 Republican senators voted to invoke cloture, joining with 53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats. The bill then advanced to the floor and was approved 55-43 on a straight party-line vote.

Besides McConnell and Cornyn, the other Republicans voting against Cruz were Sens. John Barrasso, Wyoming; Susan Collins, Maine; Bob Corker, Tennessee; Jeff Flake, Arizona; Orrin Hatch, Utah; Mike Johanns, Nebraska; Mark Kirk, Illinois; John McCain, Arizona; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; and John Thune, South Dakota.

Cruz told Bash that he likes Cornyn and has agreed with him on many issues, but disagrees with him on the debt ceiling vote.

“What I said at the outset was that I am not going to affirmatively consent to giving [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid the authority to do this,” Cruz said. “It’s irresponsible, and it’s sending our nation’s future down the road.”

But he denies criticism that he “threw five Republicans under the bus.”

“My response is, I don’t want to throw any Republicans under the bus,” Cruz said. “I want to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents we are going to do.”

Overall, Cruz said, lawmakers need to be honest with their constituents.

“Last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency,” he said.

Urgent: Do you support Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for President? Vote Now 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

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