August 1, 2015

Rand Paul touts ‘one page’ federal income tax return

Rand Paul during a campaign stop.

Rand Paul during a campaign stop.

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is campaigning in eastern Iowa today, touting his proposal to get rid of the complicated federal income tax code and replace it with a simple “flat” tax.

“We have a 70,000 page tax code and I think it’s chasing American jobs and chasing American companies overseas,” Paul said.

Paul proposes a 14.5 percent “flat” tax on income.

“You could fill out your tax return on one page,” Paul said. “It would be a big boon to Iowa. It would leave a lot of money — millions and millions of dollars would stay in Iowa and never get to Washington.”

Paul started early this morning by speaking to about 50 voters in Waterloo, where nearly 14 percent of the city’s population is black. Paul has been an advocate of criminal justice reform and he has called for making more non-violent drug crimes misdemeanors rather than felonies.

“I wouldn’t be locking up whole generations of young people,” Paul said. “Our drug war has disproportionately locked up African Americans.”

Paul made a midday stop in Williamsburg and afternoon stops in Washington and Tipton. He’ll take batting practice Saturday morning in Davenport with the Quad City Bandits, a minor league baseball team.

(Reporting in Waterloo by Scott Fenzloff of KCNZ Radio; additional reporting and editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)

Walker: GOP nominee may be chosen by convention

Scott Walker

Scott Walker

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is not ruling out the possibility a clear winner will fail to emerge after next year’s primaries and caucuses around the country and delegates at the GOP’s 2016 national convention will wind up picking the party’s White House nominee.

“It’s possible. I mean, it’s a great field, a lot of great candidates…Sooner or later it will be easier to tell how many are not running in the Republican field than those that are,” Walker joked over the noon-hour during an interview on KMA Radio.

Walker, who is the governor of Wisconsin, said he will not “speak ill” of his Republican competitors, but he’s telling audiences he’s different from his rivals because he’s both a  “doer” and a “fighter.”

“I just didn’t win three elections in four years in a blue state,” Walker said. “I won on the issues that people care about.”

Walker’s most high-profile fight was his successful effort to roll back the collective bargaining rights of unions the represent government employees.

“Unions are just fine. What we did is we took on the big government union bosses and we put the power back firmly into the hands of the hardworking taxpayers,” Walker said today. “That was good for the taxpayers. It was pro-worker.”

Walker signed a “right to work” law in Wisconsin early this year. It forbids organized labor from forcing non-union workers to pay union dues or fees in a workplace where employees have voted to unionize. Walker is on a campaign swing through southwest Iowa today, with stops scheduled in five counties.

(Reporting in Shenandoah by Chuck Morris of KMA Radio; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson; photo by Brent Barnett, KMA Radio)

‘I didn’t know I was that powerful,’ Huckabee says of complaints he caused Straw Poll’s demise (AUDIO)

Mike Huckabee in Des Moines.

Mike Huckabee in Des Moines.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is pushing back against the idea that he’s the main cause of the demise of the Iowa GOP’s Straw Poll.

“Well, gosh, I didn’t know I was that powerful,” Huckabee said this morning.

The Iowa Republican Party’s chairman told the National Journal there is “a lot of anger” about the “damage” Huckabee did when Huckabee announced in May that he would not participate in the event.

Huckabee pointed out today that he wasn’t the first to say he’d skip the event. Jeb Bush was. And Huckabee added that no other candidate had committed to participating either.

“There’s 17 candidates running for president and if I singularly killed the Straw Poll, then you should go ahead and declare me the Caucus winner because that’s a heck of a punch I must carry,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee finished second in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll eight years ago and he won the 2008 Caucuses. He’s committed to visiting each of Iowa’s 99 counties this time around.

“We’ve been now to over 30 (counties),” Huckabee told reporters. “We have county chairmen in over 60. We understand that the process in Iowa is the old-fashioned, just knock it out a county at a time, get structure and organization and that’s what we’re doing.”

Huckabee’s trip to Iowa comes after he made national headlines this past weekend by saying the proposed nuclear deal negotiated among six world powers and Iran would march Israelis “to the oven door.” Huckabee bristles at critics who’ve suggested he’s using the graphic reference to the Holocaust to try to stand out in a crowded field of candidates.

HuckabeeVideo

“They don’t know me very well. They don’t know that I’ve been Auschwitz three times. They have no idea how many times I’ve been to Israel. They have no idea about the passion I have for never, ever, ever wanting to see this horror repeated,” Huckabee said. “I have seen up close and personal what happens when people are naive and when they neglect the threats of a government that says: ‘We’re going to kill people,’ and I’m not going to do that.”

Huckabee met with reporters this morning outside WHO Radio studios in Des Moines and answered questions on a variety of topics, including the recent controversy over a video of Planned Parenthood representatives speaking about the use of aborted fetuses for medical research.

“Talking about it with such a cavalier and callous attitude is just numbing,” Huckabee said. “…It’s so cold and just inhumane.”

Beyond the discussion of ending all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, to cover services like women’s health screenings, Huckabee said it’s time for a “more thorough discussion” of ending what he called the “scourge” of abortion.

AUDIO of Huckabee speaking with reporters this morning, 12:00

(Photo by Asya Akca)

Clinton to call for ‘cease fire’ with GOP on climate change; blasts Huckabee for ‘oven’ comment (AUDIO)

Hillary Clinton at the DART Central Station in Des Moines.

Hillary Clinton at the DART Central Station in Des Moines.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited the hub for the bus system in Des Moines this morning to highlight the climate change action plan she released last night.

Clinton touted the facility’s solar panels and rainwater collection system and then told reporters she’d be able to convince reluctant Republicans to respond to climate change.

“Making this a central issue in my campaign, I hope, will give me the momentum to be able to go to th congress and say, ‘Look, cease fire. We need to make the transition and we can do it and save money at the same time and create millions of new jobs and businesses that will be to the benefit of our country, so stay tuned,” Clinton said, chuckling.

Clinton suggested she’d use executive orders and federal agency directives to accmoplish some of her goals, but she’s promising to roll back some of the tax advantages for the “fossil fuel” industry. That would take an act of congress where Republicans are likely to at least control the debate agenda in the House, if not the Senate, in 2017. Clinton told reporters she would not comment on the process of reviewing the proposed XL Pipeline, since that process was started when she was secretary of state.

In response to a reporter’s question during her news conference, Clinton rebuked Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for suggesting President Obama’s Iran deal would march Israelis to the “door of the oven.”

“Comments like these are offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue,” Clinton said.

Clinton told reporters she’s “disappointed” and “personally” offended by Huckabee’s remark.

“I know Governor Huckabee. I have a cordial relationship with him. He served as the governor of Arkansas, but I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable,” Clinton said.

The “particulars” of the Iran deal are “fair game” for criticism, according to Clinton,

“But this steps over the line and it should be repudiated by every person of good faith and concern about the necessity to keep our political dialogue with the facts and suitable boundaries,” Clinton said.

AUDIO of Clinton’s appearance in Des Moines, 20:00

On Sunday during a speech in Ames, Clinton said as secretary of state she worked for 18 months to lay the ground work that ultimately led to the negotiations her successor concluded this summer with Iran and other key world powers.

(Photo by Asya Akca)

‘We need to set high goals again,’ Clinton says, releasing ideas to combat climate change

Hillary Clinton in Ames, IA.

Hillary Clinton in Ames, IA.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today said it’s time to “get serious” about climate change and build a “clean energy economy” in the U.S.

“I know that if we start addressing it, we’re going to actually be creating jobs and new businesses,” Clinton said in Ames this afternoon.

Clinton released a video message early this evening, calling for a dramatic, nationwide shift to power sources like solar panels and wind turbines, so that “every home in America” would get its electricity from “clean renewable energy” within a decade of her taking office. During a speech a few hours earlier in Ames, Clinton gave a sneak peek of some of her prescriptions.

“I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency,” Clinton said, to applause and cheers. “And I’ve got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention.”

Clinton praised the State of Iowa for being “ahead of the curve” in promoting not only wind energy and advanced biofuels, but establishing state tax rebates for installing solar panels in their homes and businesses.

“I think that’s pretty smart and the projections about what that will mean for Iowa are really positive,” Clinton said in Ames. “So other states could follow Iowa’s lead.”

At the federal level, Clinton would support continuing the wind production tax credit along with a recalibration of other tax incentives that are “too heavily weighted…toward fossil fuels.”

“We can do this. We need to set high goals again,” Clinton said. “…I’m setting some really high goals that we’re going to meet when I’m president.”

Clinton denounced the Republican field of presidential candidates for their responses on the issue.

“They will answer any question about climate change by saying: ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain and I know we’re facing a huge problem from climate change,” Clinton said, to cheers from the audience.

AUDIO of Clinton’s appearance in Ames, 52:00

Carol Williams of Ames said as she was leaving the event that it’s refreshing to have a candidate say climate change is “real” and “let’s do something about it.”

“I’m a park ranger, so I got into being a park ranger because I care about the environment,” Williams said, “so the idea that we’re ignoring it completely is appalling to me. We’re so far behind already. We have to get on the bandwagon.”

Williams went to see Clinton on today, but she also saw Clinton competitor Bernie Sanders when he was in Ames. Williams said Clinton’s appearance, though, went “a long ways” toward convincing her to vote for Clinton in the Caucuses.

 (Photo by Asya Akca)

‘The gloves are off,’ Trump says as he goes after Iowa front-runner Walker (AUDIO)

Donald Trump in Oskaloosa, IA.

Donald Trump in Oskaloosa, IA.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to more than 1,400 in Oskaloosa this afternoon.

Trump greeted a crowd inside the 700-seat high school auditorium and his speech was broadcast into a building next door for the overflow crowd, with still more standing outside unable to get in to either venue.

“Beautiful, beautiful,” Trump said, when he arrived on stage. “What a welcome.”

Trump spoke for nearly an hour, touching on many of the topics he’s discussed in previous solo stops in Winterset and Des Moines in June. Trump did take on Republican rival Scott Walker, the current front-runner in Iowa polls.

“He’s the only guy that’s ahead of me. I can’t believe I’m in second place…Folks, would you please put me in first place so I feel better?” Trump asked and the crowd cheered.

Trump told the audience he had appreciated and contributed to Walker’s fight to survive a recall election in Wisconsin, but Trump said a “stupid person” who works for Walker made a “horrible statement” about him and Trump blasted Walker’s management of Wisconsin.

“They projected a $1 billion surplus and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion. The schools are a disaster and they’re fighting like crazy because there’s no money for the school…and he was totally in favor of Common Core,” Trump said. “Did you know that?”

The crowd cheered Trump’s negative critique of Walker. Later, Trump told reporters Walker hadn’t been that nice to him anyway.

“One of his people hit me…and I said: ‘Hey, now the gloves are off,” Trump said. “…The real truth is that Wisconsin’s it’s a mess right now. It’s a mess, from an economic standpoint.”

Trump told reporters there is “no cap” on the amount of his personal fortune that he will spend running for president. The Trump campaign handed out “Veterans for Trump” signs to the crowd and Brad Nagle, a native of Cherokee, Iowa, who is a former Navy Seal, spoke to the crowd before Trump arrived on stage.

“Donald Trump loves veterans unlike some others who think . crazies,” Nagle said, to applause. “Donald Trump is someone who talks the talk, but walks the walk. I like that.” A man in the crowd gave a Marine “oorah” yell in response.

Trump later told reporters his well-publicized dust-up with Arizona Senator John McCain was “over with.”

Susan Leonard of Oskaloosa lives just a few blocks from the school where the event was held and she was among the crowd who arrived to see Trump today.

“He’s out there being our voice,” Leonard said. “He’s out there saying what we can’t say for anybody to hear, but he’s got the platform to say it and get it out there. Some things I wish he’d maybe tone it down a bit, be a little subtle, but that’s the only tip I would tell him.”

Leonard’s cousin, Angela Binns of Oskaloosa, is equally thrilled with Trump.

“I like his outspokenness. I’m so glad that he has the courage to say what needs to be said and, quite frankly, I really don’t care who is offended,” Binns said.

Both women, who accidentally wore block dresses with white polka dots to the event, say they “probably” will Caucus for Trump, unless someone else in the GOP field “steps up” and makes the case on the issues the way Trump is.  Jill Jepsen and her husband are more than ready for Trump. Jepsen, who is from Oskaloosa, made six signs to wave at the event.

“He tells the truth. He’s an honest guy,” Jepsen said. “It’s amazing and I am an independent voter. So’s my husband. We’re not Democrats. We’re not Republicans. We’re independents and he’s put the spirit back into it. He’s putting the spirit back into our country again.”

Forty-year-old Dana Jones of Ottumwa wore a Reagan-Bush ’84 t-shirt to the event because he sees a lot of Reagan in Trump.

“He says it the way it is,” Jones said. “He’s not reading off (any) teleprompter or he (doesn’t) have any, like, notes and I believe he’s honest and gets straight to the point and no other politicians out there are like that.”

AUDIO of Trump’s speech, 58:00

AUDIO of Trump’s news conference, 28:00

(Photo by Asya Akca)

Christie says Clinton ‘owns the big lie’ of Obama’s second term (AUDIO)

Christie

Chris Christie

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie says the Iran deal is the single worth thing President Obama has done during his presidency.

“What’s going to happen with this Iran deal, in my opinion, is it’s going to lead to a nuclearized Middle East.

It is going to lead to danger not only for the United States, but also for our allies in the Middle East like Israel and other friendly Arab countries,” Christie says. “And remember: Iran is still the largest state-sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

Christie faults the deal for failing to have “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and he says the deal will allow Iran to import and develop ballistic weapons.

“This is a life-and-death situation and this is absolutely the worst thing this president has done,” Christie says. “This will go down in history as an enormous, monumental, life-costing error.”

According to Christie, Obama should have done what Reagan did while negotiating with the Russians.

“What Ronald Reagan understood was…no deal is better than a bad deal and he walked away from Gorbachev and those negotiations,” Christie says. “That’s exactly what President Obama should have done. He should have walked away from the mullahs in Iran, ratcheted up the sanctions and said: ‘When you’re serious about a fair deal, come back and we’ll talk to you then.'”

And Christie says likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will find it hard to defend the delay international inspectors will face when asking to see Iran nuclear facilities.

“I mean, as a former prosecutor, I’ll tell you, that’s like getting a search warrant, going to someone’s house and then saying: ‘I’ll be back in 24 days to see if there’s any evidence of a crime.’ Even the stupidest criminal in the world would be able to get rid of that evidence,” Christie says. “So she now owns the big lie of the second term which is ‘any time, anywhere inspections’ in Iran.”

Christie made his comments this morning during an interview with Radio Iowa. Christie also discussed recent Amtrak delays in New York and New Jersey as well as his competition with a crew of governors who are seeking the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination.

AUDIO of Christie’s interview with Radio Iowa, 7:41

(Photo courtesy of Chris Christie’s Twitter Account)