April 26, 2015

Nine Republicans in 2016 field speak in Waukee church

Nine Republicans who will likely compete for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination spoke to hundreds of evangelical Christians Saturday evening at a church in Waukee.

The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s event featured the three U.S. senators who are officially in the race. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told the crowd it was time to “push back” and “flip the tables” against Democrats on issues like abortion and he railed against foreign aid to countries that persecute Christians.

“Washington is so out of step, Washington is so broken, it’s not going to change…if you nominate ‘Democrat Lite,'” Paul said.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the youngest candidate in the field, urged the crowd to “embrace” the future.

“It begins by turning the page on these leaders that are trapped in yesterday,” Rubio said.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the third senator who’s officially in the race and he accused Democrats of being “radicalized” on the same-sex marriage issue.

“The modern Democratic Party has gotten so extreme, so intolerant, there is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after and targeting believing Christians who follow the Biblical teaching on marriage,” Cruz said.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the victor in Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses and is likely to enter the race next month. He, too, blasted those who accuse Christian conservatives of discrimination if they support bans on same-sex marriage and refuse to do business with same-sex couples.

“It is the criminalization of Christianity. We cannot stand by silently,” Huckabee said, to applause.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, likely to be among the latest to formally enter the race, said the federal courts should not be defining marriage.

“In Wisconsin and other places across the country marriage is defined between one man and one woman and states should be the ones that make that decision,” Walker said, to applause and a few whistles.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said corporate America should be wary of throwing in with the “radical left” on same-sex marriage.

“I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman and unlike President Obama and Secretary Clinton…my views, they’re not evolving with the times. They’re not based on poll numbers,” Jindal said, to applause.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina plans to announce her candidacy next month and she spent the opening and closing moments in her speech to lambaste Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.

“And I’ll tell you what — when the General Election rolls around we’d better have a nominee that can throw those punches all day long,” Fiorina said, to applause.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is likely to run a second time for president, talked of Biblical figures like Moses and Paul who had been given second chances by God.

“But I happen to think that America is ready for a second chance right now,” Perry said. “America is ready for a leader to give this country a second chance.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum, the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses, argued the GOP’s message needs to change and that’s one reason he has come out in favor of raising the minimum wage.

“We can go out and talk about how we have to bail out Wall Street, that we have to bailout auto companies, but when it comes to providing worker protection for the lowest-wage workers, we have to be Adam Smith. No!” Santorum said. “We need to say that we’re on the side of the American worker.”

The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition plans another fundraising event this fall at the Iowa State Faigrounds and that’s likely to draw some of the same candidates.

Governor Walker: a national ‘Right to Work’ law a ‘legitimate’ goal

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he has the “courage…and capacity” to take on powerful interests, including unions, at the federal level. Walker, a Republican who is likely to enter the presidential race soon, signed a “right to work” law in Wisconsin this year and he sees a need for a similar federal law.

“As much as I think the federal government should get out of most of what it’s in right now, I think establishing fundamental freedoms for the American people is a legitimate thing and that would be something that would provide that opportunity in the other half of America to people who don’t have those opportunities today,” Walker said this morning during an interview with Radio Iowa.

Twenty five states, including Iowa and Wisconsin, have “right-to-work” laws that forbid organized labor from forcing non-union workers to pay union dues or fees in a workplace where employees have voted to unionize. Soon after he was elected governor in 2010, Walker gained attention and plaudits from Republicans and business interests across the country by pushing to make changes in tenure and benefits for teachers and public employees in Wisconsin.

“Really what we did wasn’t just fight unions. It was fight the stranglehold that big government special interests had on state and local governments,” Walker said today. “I think in Washington we need that even more.”

The federal government has “grown too much,” according to Walker, and, if elected president, he’d seek changes in the civil service system for federal employees.

“For example, we got rid of seniority and tenure. You can hire and fire based on merit. You can pay based on performance,” Walker said. “We found in our schools and our local and state governments you can put the best and the brightest in those positions.”

Walker and eight other potential competitors for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination will speak this evening to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. It’s an organization that represents evangelical Christians, an important voting block in the Iowa GOP. Walker, who is the son of a Baptist minister, said his faith impacts how he conducts himself and how he listens to others.

“My faith is not a litmus test. I don’t get a Ten Commandments handed down to me on a tablet, saying: ‘You should be this on this issue and that on that issue,'” Walker said. “…I’m a Christian. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I firmly that someone can be a fellow believer and have different views than I do on policy and I don’t think that makes them any less of a believer if they differ. I just think you get to it in different ways.”

Walker vaulted into the national spotlight in January after a well-received speech at Congressman Steve King’s “Iowa Freedom Summit” in Des Moines. When asked today about his choice to literally roll up his shirt sleeves for that and other key political appearances over the past four months, Walker — whose suit jacket was hanging on the back of the chair in which he was sitting during the Radio Iowa interview — laughed.

“I give a few speeches in a coat,” Walker said, then he offered up the reason why he often goes coatless: “You’ll get the simple truth out of me. It’s usually just because I’m hot.”

Fiorina begins five-day swing through Iowa

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who is mulling a run for the White House, spoke to a crowd of about 150 at Morningside College in Sioux City Tuesday afternoon.

“By the way, I will just tell you that we are a few short weeks away from a final decision and a formal announcement,” Fiorina said. “I got stopped in the airport yesterday in Chicago and this man said to me: ‘What…are the odds? Are they 60/40?’ I said, ‘Well, they’re probably 98/2 at this point,’ so I’ll tell you that as well.”

Fiorina spoke about a range of issues, including immigration policy and ObamaCare. Fiorina said government policies, in general, have forced people into lives of “webs of dependence” on federal assistance.

“If you have ever talked to a single mom with two kids who wants to move forward with her life, the choices we put in front of her are agonizing,” Fiorina said, “the risks she feels she has to take.”

Fiorina also cited her work on boards that advised the CIA and the military and Fiorina told the crowd in Sioux City that she’s met with just as many world leaders as Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state.

“I know that when we do not respond to our allies and when we fail to confront our adversaries that people conclude it doesn’t pay to be a friend to the United States and don’t worry if you are her adversary,” Fiorina said.

In 2010, Fiorina ran as the Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate in California, but lost to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Fiorina will be in Iowa through Saturday, when she joins three Republican presidential candidates and three other might-be candidates at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Spring Kick-off” event.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Wisconsin governor courts Iowa legislators, seeking endorsements

Walker speaks with State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa & Iowa Western Community College President Dan Kinney.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks with State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa & Iowa Western Community College President Dan Kinney.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a likely presidential candidate, met privately with Republicans who serve in the Iowa House and Senate today. After he posed for pictures with legislators, Walker spoke briefly to Radio Iowa.

“We’ll keep coming back over and over again,” Walker said. “But I think for most folks the big thing that people want is a leader that’s going to fight and win for the American taxpayers.”

Walker’s staff then escorted him out of the room and, as he walked through the statehouse rotunda, Walker stopped to chat with an Iowa community college president. Walker will return to Iowa this weekend. He’ll be one of the speakers at Saturday’s Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Waukee.

His meetings at the statehouse today were designed to court legislators who may endorse his candidacy.

Rand Paul suggests book will reveal ‘unseemly’ fundraising by Clintons (AUDIO)

Rand Paul (file photo)

Rand Paul (file photo)

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has taken to Twitter to seek tips about contributions to the Clinton Foundation that came from foreign governments. Paul suggests those donations may have steered then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy objectives.

“There’s a book coming out in the next week or so-called ‘Clinton’s Cash’,” Paul said this morning. “I think a lot of details are going to be in there about donations from foreign countries, donations from foreign individuals and how they may or may not have influenced governmental policy.”

More than a year ago Paul asserted Hillary Clinton was unfit to be president because she had failed to address the security concerns of the U.S. ambassador to Libya who killed at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

“I think the media in many ways let her off the hook because the media just said, ‘She said: “Oh, this is my underling’s job.”‘ And it’s like you’re the secretary of state and this is Libya and you don’t know that the ambassador has been sending cable after cable, pleading for the security team to stay in August?” Paul said today. “And so I think that’s inexcusable.”

Now that both Paul and Clinton are “official” 2016 candidates for the presidency, Paul is alleg  ing revelations in this new book will show links between Clinton’s decisions inside the state department and the donations and speaking fees her husband collected from foreign governments.

“I think that’s alarming,” Paul said. “The constitution’s pretty specific that we didn’t want foreign donations to be involved in our politics and so I think this is something that’s going to have to really be thoroughly looked at and the American people are going to have to decide whether or not this is unseemly behavior.”

The Clinton campaign has accused Paul of joining those who are peddling “absurd conspiracy theories” in an effort to distract voters from real issues. Paul is headed to Iowa this weekend where he’ll appear alongside Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio and seven other Republicans who say they’re considering a run for the White House. Paul spoke briefly with Radio Iowa by phone this morning, drawing a distinction with his GOP competitors on a key foreign policy issue: Iran.

“I think that negotiations are better than war and I voted for sanctions on Iran to try to provoke them and prompt them into negotiations, so I think it’s a good thing that we’re negotiating,” Paul said. “There are some in my party who just, I think, really want war and they don’t want negotiations — period. Some of them have frankly said that it’s time that we end the negotiations.”

Paul said he’s increasingly skeptical of the negotiations, however, after seeing how the Iranians are interpreting the details.

“Because I’m in favor of negotiations doesn’t mean I’m in favor of any agreement,” Paul said.

Paul supports the effort to pass legislation that would require a vote in congress on any deal with the Iranians. A conservative group with ties to the “Swift Boat” ad campaign against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry ran ads earlier this month in Iowa criticizing Paul for being open to negotiations with Iran.

NYC mayor pushing his party to embrace progressive agenda

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is wrapping up a series of stops in Iowa and Nebraska, arguing it’s time to “transform America” by enacting “progressive” ideas like raising the minimum wage and taxing the wealthy to raise money for investments in education and infrastructure.

“I have been very clear about the fact that I thought in 2014 too many Democrats ran away from the president, ran away from ObamaCare, ran away from the discussion of income inequality, did not offer a bold, progressive vision,” de Blasio said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

De Blasio is in the midst of a campaign to unite progressives around a set of common goals, with plans next month to present a “progressive version” of the “Contract with America” that Republicans used with success in the 1994 congressional elections.

“This is both about substance and morality, but I also think it’s about practicality,” de Blasio said. “If you want to move people to actually show up and vote — there’s a very different reality around turn-out than it used to be in the past. If you want people to actually show up and vote, they’d better hear a plan for progressive economic change.”

This fall, de Blasio plans to host a presidential candidate forum specifically focused on income disparity, “because I can’t remember an issue this dire that went so unaddressed in Washington.” De Blasio calls the growing gap between the richest and the poorest Americans the “crisis of our time.”

De Blasio, who has been mayor of New York City for about 15 months, managed Hillary Clinton’s first campaign for New York’s U.S. Senate seat 15 years ago. This week, he’s taken some heat for not immediately endorsing her bid for president. De Blasio says he wants to see Clinton’s “clear, bold vision” for the country’s economy first.

“We have a profoundly different reality today than we did eight years ago when Secretary Clinton ran,” de Blasio said. “This is a different economy. It is much more stratified. The income disparity crisis has been growing intensely and literally a different set of issues and concerns than we even had just eight years ago and a different kind of economic crisis than I think we’ve ever seen as a country.”

De Blasio does say Clinton has a “progressive history” as a founder of the Children’s Defense Fund 40 years ago and for trying to reform the country’s health care system in the 1990s.

“She caught hell for that, but she did the right thing and I think it showed a lot of guts and it was exactly the kind of leadership we’re going to need today,” de Blasio said. “That being said, I’ve been very open about the fact — I have great respect for her and consider her a real friend — but I want to see a vision and so far we haven’t had that. It’s a beginning. It’s April 2015. It’s not even April 2016. There’s plenty of time, but I think for a lot of us, we need to see a vision.”

De Blasio said Republican presidential candidates seem to have “gotten the memo” that income inequality is a concern, but de Blasio suggested the GOP is offering just “lip service” to the issue rather than abandoning “trickle down economics.”

“Right now, the politics of this country favors the wealthy. The wealthy have a lock on the decision-making in Washington and most of our state capitals, so we’re not taxing the wealthy, we don’t have the resources, we don’t make the investments and we fall behind,” de Blasio said. “And our people are falling behind.”

De Blasio spoke Wednesday night in Omaha. He spoke today at the Harkin Institute at Drake University in Des Moines.

Clinton: ‘I want to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday’

Hillary Clinton made a stop at the Iowa Capitol.

Hillary Clinton met Silas Miller of Grimes during a stop at the Iowa Capitol.

A large crowd of onlookers gathered inside the first floor rotunda of the Iowa statehouse this afternoon for a glimpse of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She is in a private meeting at this hour with Democrats who serve in the Iowa House and Senate.

As Clinton walked by a row of reporters, Clinton said she was “having a great time” in Iowa. Clinton shook hands with several in the crowd and she took a picture with five-year-old Silas Miller of Grimes, who was wearing a gray t-shirt that said “Iowa: wave the next time you fly over.”

“It was awesome,” the young man told reporters after meeting Clinton.

His mother, Carrie Mueller, got a tip from someone inside the building that Clinton was coming. Twenty years from now, when they see the picture snapped today, Mueller may be able to say: “My son took his picture with the first woman president, which is very cool.”

Clinton made the trip to the statehouse after a roundtable discussion with a handful of small business owners in Norwalk.

“I want to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday, and I want to make middle class mean something again,” Clinton said. “And you cannot do that if you don’t have small business really building and driving economic growth.”