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Posts tagged ‘Scott Walker’

Mary Matalin: Nancy Pelosi, Democrats Running ‘Scared’.


Top Republican political strategist Mary Matalin says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing a “Kabuki dance” by claiming Republicans are “wasting their time” using the Affordable Care Act as a campaign issue.

“It’s all a Kabuki dance. Obviously, they are scared and they’re trying to scrounge off a strategy and they’ve come up with, let’s see Obamacare on the offense and attack Republicans,” Matalin told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“Do you think anyone is listening to Nancy Pelosi?”

Story continues below video.

Pelosi took on the GOP after Republican newcomer David Jolly beat well-known Democrat Alex Sink in a special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday. Many see the victory as a referendum on Obamacare.

“Sink — the kitchen sink had him, pun intended — [she] lost and that is not a Republican district,” Matalin said.

“I don’t see anything in the midterm elections that would portend anything but a positive outcome for Republicans.”

Matalin — who served under President Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H.W. Bush, and was an assistant to President George W. Bush — said she was impressed by this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I love when Republicans, conservatives, talk the talk. When they have open debates. When they fight, when they get into it. I love the Rand [Paul]-[Ted] Cruz different approaches,” Matalin said.

“You saw a very deep back-bench of intelligent, articulate candidates, would-be candidates or incumbents who can carry that message. I was in heaven …

“My personal opinion, the guy who’s going to end up in the top tier wasn’t there, which is [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker.”

Matalin added that she doesn’t believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ultimately be the Democrats’ choice for the 2016 presidential race.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

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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.

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.

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.

Scott Walker: Primary Challenges Could Cripple GOP Bid to Take Senate.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considered a potential GOP candidate for president in 2016, said Republicans need to concentrate on defeating Democrats and capturing the Senate in 2014, not attacking fellow Republicans.

Walker made his remarks during a Saturday radio appearance on the The Mike Huckabee Show.

In introducing Walker, Huckabee lauded him as a conservative who doesn’t “tear down” other Republicans.

Walker noted that his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and A Nation’s Challenge” acknowledges Americans’ widespread frustration with the size and expansiveness of the federal government.

He said Republicans were able to implement “big bold reforms” in several Midwestern states including Wisconsin because they won governorships as well as legislatures enabling them to put a GOP “team in place.”

The situation in Washington was vastly different despite the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to push “true reform.” That’s because the Senate is controlled by the Democrats “and we still, unfortunately, for the next few years have a Democrat president,” the Wisconsin governor said.

Republican energies should be targeted, said Walker, “not on fighting Republicans” in House or Senate primaries but on overcoming Democrats in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska.

This year’s November elections offer a real chance to win the Senate and determine the future of the country, he told Huckabee’s audience.

“We need to elect Republicans to those spots,” said Walker.

None of the Republicans’ achievements at the state level— Michigan’s right to work laws, for example— could have been accomplished had Republicans not pulled together and won both the governorship and the legislature.

“We were able to put a team into place” because of the support of the Republican establishment, grass roots activists and the tea party, who were united on the objective of putting “power back in the hands of the people.”

Without Republican unity “we would have had tremendous difficulties if not an outright barrier to that kind of reform,” said Walker.

“The real answer is to not to go out and attack Republicans who try to push reform in the House or to try to defeat them in primaries. It’s to go out and win those winnable elections for the United States Senate,” he said.

“Then, after that, if a year from now, Republicans hold the United States Senate and they hold the House, if at that point we can’t get things done, then I think its legitimate to hold people in our own party accountable,” Walker said.

Walker said 2014 is “that all-important year. We get the Senate back. Then, two years later, we elect a Republican president. And it’s not just about winning elections at that point, it’s about truly reforming the federal government, reining in the debt, reining in the deficit.”

With Republicans in-charge on Capitol Hill and at the White House, “putting the power back in the hands of the American people” is “something we can do.”

But, only, said Walker, if Republicans don’t meanwhile “splinter off” in “many different directions.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Elliot Jager

Scott Walker: Extend Unemployment, But With Reforms.


Image: Scott Walker: Extend Unemployment, But With Reforms

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he supports extending emergency unemployment benefits, but there must be conditions and reforms that help people get jobs.

“What people want is freedom and opportunity,” the Republican governor told CNN “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley Sunday. “You don’t get that through the government.”

Americans won’t get that opportunity through “artificially” raising minimum wages, as many states have been doing, or by extending unemployment benefits without requiring people to get the tools they need to find jobs, said Walker.

Earlier in the show, President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, told Crowley that the White House will continue to push for the emergency long-term unemployment benefits, which ended on Jan. 1, to be reinstated.

“The White House is pushing this because they want desperately to take focus away from Obamacare,” Walker told Crowley. “Any discussion should be focused on what kind of reforms should take place.”

For example, at one point long-term job seekers only had to look for work twice a week, but a that rule was tweaked to require they look five times a week.

“If I was unemployed, I’d look more than two times a week,” said Walker, saying he’d look every day except for Sunday, when he’d go to church and pray he’d find a job.

And in Wisconsin, jobless people without children are required to be involved in job training programs in order to collect unemployment benefits, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Walker said, many states are enacting minimum wage hikes that are a more artificial boost that is not helping people get ahead.

Fast food restaurants are a great place to start out working, Walker said, noting that he and Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan both worked at McDonald’s restaurants within miles of each other when they were younger.

But instead of relying on minimum wage hikes, Walker said, it’s better for people to get training for higher-paying jobs, such as in welding, nursing and more instead of depending on minimum wage raises.

“With this bureaucratic mess, it makes it difficult for people to get the training they need,” said Walker.

The governor said that such programs haven’t always worked because states have not put money behind such programs.

“You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is,” said Walker. “Why a lot of states don’t make childless adults work is because they don’t put money behind it.”

Meanwhile, Sperling echoed the president’s call Saturday for Republicans to restore the unemployment benefits for the more than one million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months.

The measure will come up for its first procedural vote before the Senate on Monday when it returns from its holiday recess, reports CNN, but Democrats are not sure if there is enough Republican support to extend the benefits.

Sperling said the Republicans’ position on the benefits is “cruel” while making a milestone in cutting off emergency unemployment benefits while the nation’s out-of-work rate remains high, at 7 percent.

“We have never cut off emergency unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate is this high,” Sperling said. “Tomorrow is actually the day that 1.3 million Americans will go to the mailbox and find that check missing, the check that they rely on to put food on their table.”

On the CNN show Sunday, though, he questioned Republican motives behind the unemployment cuts and other issues, especially when it comes to job creation, and said it will be “harmful” for the GOP politically to take on another fight on the debt limit..

He said that the GOP’s action in shutting off unemployment insurance seems more about politics than protecting Americans against “the worst legacy of the Great Recession.”

“The question is: Is the only reason people want to work together on jobs politics?” Sperling said. Or are we here to try to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, deal with inequality, have each other’s backs in hard times?”

Sperling is leaving office this month when Obama will replace him with Jefffrey Zients, a top aide who has filled in as acting budget director and who led a White House effort to streamline government, and refused to make a great deal of speculation about what will happen economically in the upcoming year.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Gov. Walker’s ‘Third Way’ Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver.


Image: Gov. Walker's 'Third Way' Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver

By Melissa Clyne

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed “third way” Medicaid option to make sure his state’s residents have insurance coverage is a maneuver some political pundits claim is designed to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid by the Republican.

Walker’s plan to turn down federal dollars offered to expand Medicaid coverage in the Badger State would actually increase its rolls by more than 80,000 adults, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Wisconsin offers one of the most sweeping Medicaid programs in the country, covering adults making up to twice the federal poverty level. The proposed Walker plan would cover only those earning at or below the poverty level — $11,490 annually for a single person — freeing up money to open enrollments, which have been frozen since 2009, when spending caps forced the suspension of new enrollees.

The move, which could help raise his profile during a presidential run, allows Walker to tout the conservative position of opposing Obamacare while appealing to a broader base of voters concerned with getting healthcare coverage.

Walker’s political capital increased after surviving a 2012 recall election brought on by Democrats angry over Walker’s decision to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees.

Medicaid expansion became optional under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. The federal government has guaranteed financing states’ expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent afterward.

But some GOP governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, don’t trust the promise. Perry rejected the expansion, arguing that states would ultimately get stuck footing the bill. Ohio’s John Kasich is taking the federal money while governors in Pennsylvania and Tennessee have tried to get the federal Medicaid money but use it to expand private coverage, the Journal reported Wednesday.

Though Walker’s plan reduces the number of Wisconsin residents who would qualify for Medicaid, the 77,000 people losing coverage would qualify for subsidies with monthly premiums less than $20, Kaiser Health News reports.

“You’re going to hear some detractors claim that moving people to the private market or to the exchanges isn’t affordable,” Walker says. “I think most people would find it hard to imagine that with the tax subsidies, that $19 a month is somehow not affordable. I think it is.”

Walker’s “third way” option “allows him to combat criticism either for accepting the federal money or blocking a Medicaid expansion,” according to the Journal.

“In our state, we didn’t take that false choice,” Walker said. “We picked a third option. For the first time in our state’s history, everyone in poverty will be covered.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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