Gov. Chris Christie touts national appeal

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I’m the only one who can make this country great again’The New Jersey governor, who is considering running for president, was the most prominent establishment-backed 2016 contender to appear at Rep. The past week alone has featured an explosion of high-level campaign moves as Republican candidates gathered staff, kowtowed before donors and prepared to make direct pitches to voters for support.With a list of speakers as distinguished as you’ll see at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), most of the people who have spent at least five minutes thinking about being the 2016 Republican presidential nominee were there.The number of potential Republican candidates for the White House continues to grow and grow with billionaire Donald Trump being the latest to say he may throw his hat into the ring.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Conservative heavyweights joined with up-and-comers in hammering President Obama Saturday over everything from the health care law to his immigration policies as they played to a sold-out Iowa crowd in what amounted to the opening bell of the Republican presidential campaign.At a summit of conservative activists that served as a starting line to next year’s Republican presidential caucuses here, the rabble-rousing Texas senator and the steady-handed Wisconsin governor distinguished themselves from a crowded line-up of ambitious politicians by delivering a pair of animated, meaty speeches.The Wisconsin Republican governor delivered a pitch-perfect speech to a room packed with influential Hawkeye State conservatives on Saturday, walking them through his robust resume and ideology with a passion that surprised many. “It was a clear Walker victory. With the exception of Jeb Bush (conservatives are not his crowd), Bobby Jindal (he was hosting a spiritual revival event in Louisiana), Marco Rubio (“Gang of 8” amnesty and Mr. Mr Trump, 68, who said he may make a run for the presidency only to decide against it both in 2008 and 2012, said over the weekend he was “seriously thinking” about a campaign.

They spoke at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, held in the first-in-the-nation caucus state at a time when big-name Republicans are getting close to announcing whether they’ll seek the presidency. Cruz, who already has established a reputation in Washington for fiery rhetoric, sounded a notably optimistic tone by professing to lead a coalition of those “who want to believe again in the miracle of America.” Yet he also appeared ready to fiercely challenge rivals who will attempt to claim the conservative mantle. “One of the most important roles that the men and women in this room, the men and women in Iowa play, is to look each candidate in the eye and say, ‘Don’t talk. He had expectations coming in here, he was on everyone’s shortlist and he had to meet those expectations and I thought he far exceeded them,” said former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson. “I thought his speech was just perfect, and I thought his delivery was perfect. Christie also portrayed himself as a Republican who can win over voters that other members of his party cannot, touting his success running as a pro-life Republican in New Jersey.

Although Mr Trump is not a serious candidate for president, his remark revealed the depth of feeling among conservative grassroots against candidates like Mr Romney, who earlier this month indicated he was seriously contemplating a third run of president. “You can’t have Bush, the last thing we need is another Bush,” added Mr Trump earning more roars of approval, for daring to ding Jeb Bush, the younger brother of President George W. That position draws a contrast with Romney, who ran as a pro-choice candidate for governor of Massachusetts before pivoting to a pro-life stance when he sought the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Sarah Palin, too, after telling reporters she’s thinking about a 2016 run, laced her speech with snappy one-liners as she lit into the current president. Walker used the opportunity to introduce himself and boast about his resume of hard-fought political and legislative victories over public sector unions and other Democratic interests in the neighboring Badger State.

Of Obama, she said: “America, he’s just not that into you.” The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee also knocked the idea of a Hillary Clinton run. Barack Obama was roundly mocked for suggesting in his State of the Union that the greatest threat facing America was not the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) or the Chinese economy, but climate change and the oceans. “Mr President. Steve King, R-Iowa, and the conservative group Citizens United — featured speeches in a crammed downtown auditorium by as many as a dozen potential GOP presidential candidates.

Rod Blum and King, among other Republican leaders in the state. “This is just the conventional wisdom from Washington D.C. that thinks we aren’t friends…that a conservative Republican governor from New Jersey can’t possibly share the same values as a conservative Republican here in Iowa,” Christie said. “They were wrong every time they said it over the last five years … They’re wrong again today.” He also argued that Republicans need to field candidates who can play in blue states. “If our conservatism is truly going to succeed it must be able to defend itself in every part of the country,” he said, a stance that would favor him over the rest of the potential Republican primary field, which hails mostly from red and purple states. Among the potential contenders who attended the event were former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Reuters said that perhaps the warmest reception was given to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who survived a recall attempt over his conservative policies in 2012 and won re-election in November.

John Bolton, the national security hawk and former US ambassador to the UN under George W Bush, went further, accusing Mr Obama of failing in his duty to protect Americans. “Our president has drained the moat and he’s left the gates open and undefended,” he said. Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky will participate in a live panel discussion on Sunday at a donor conference led by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch in Palm Springs, California. He was withering in his criticism of Mr Obama for not attending a march of world leaders in Paris two weeks ago to show solidarity for the French after attacks there. “We need leaders who will stand with our allies against radical Islamic terrorists,” he said. There were some voices urging a tempering some of the more blood-curdling rhetoric. “We don’t win because too many people don’t think we care about them”, said Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who ran in 2012 – but his advice received a notably cool reception. The former governor of Alaska, and running mate of John McCain in an unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, said: “When you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested.”

Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania ahead of the 2012 caucuses. “He can appeal to the moderates and is a strong enough advocate on fiscal conservatism, the constitution and smaller government. It included big names like Cruz and Christie, but also some rising stars, like Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who has reinvented himself as an outspoken conservative and won an enthusiastic following in the process. The moves puts him closer toward a run despite speculation that Bush’s entrance in the race might split his base of Florida supporters and make a campaign difficult. Christie, more than anyone else, took the biggest risk in taking the stage, due to the perception that he’s a moderate who has been too chummy with President Barack Obama. But whereas Cruz and Walker roamed the dais comfortably and delivered their speeches without notes, the often bombastic Christie stuck close to a script, carefully reading prepared remarks from the podium.

We don’t have the will.” Carson suggested adopting a guest-worker program similar to the one Canada has and said anyone applying for guest-worker employment should do so while in another country. He pushed back on the narrative that he didn’t share the values of Iowa conservatives, highlighting his anti-abortion credentials and citing his repeated visits to the state on behalf of GOP candidates, including King and Gov.

A report on Friday by the Center for Public Integrity found that many of Romney’s bundlers, who raised millions for the candidate in 2012, are still undecided on whether to stick with Mitt for another run. Terry Branstad, who is said to be fond of Christie personally. “If I’m too blunt, too direct, too loud and too New Jersey for Iowa, then why do you people keep inviting me back?,” he asked, eliciting howls of approval. Meanwhile Bush is planning a 60-event fundraising tour, per The Wall Street Journal, with the goal of producing “shock and awe” numbers to scare potential opponents out of the race. Santorum also met recently with Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative who almost single-handedly kept his campaign afloat in 2012 by funding an outside super PAC allied with his candidacy.

In the years since the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, which opened PACs up to unlimited donations, the political environment has become such that all it takes is one friendly billionaire to justify a run. While the customary bashing of Obama still took place, there was a common thread of optimism weaved throughout many of the speeches, as well as a recognition about the party’s need to embody a positive message in order to grow. “Look for that message that could bring us together. Not everyone exploring a campaign will necessarily do so, but the sheer number of high-profile Republicans aggressively prepping for 2016 this month suggests the primary is going to be crowded. Because as good as it feels to hear the bad stuff, as good as it feels to beat up on the other side for the damage they’ve done to this country . . . pointing a finger and condemning somebody doesn’t win you a whole lot of hearts,” said Santorum. Jim Gilmore told the crowd he was “ashamed” of that record and said the president should have gone to Paris to join the unity rally after the attacks in that city this month.

King, in his opening remarks, called for abolishing the IRS and going after Obama’s “executive overreach,” while largely sidestepping the broader immigration issue. Cruz’s drumbeat that the next nominee be a full-spectrum conservative is likely to collide with Christie’s moves to assemble a big-tent party that can carry blue states. Assuming the establishment is eventually able to winnow it down to just one, history shows this candidate has a floor/ceiling of 18 percent to 25 percent depending on environment. It’s pretty hard to win Iowa when you don’t show up for either of the last two mega events hosted by the state’s two most influential conservatives — Bob Vander Plaats and Mr.

But the two were name-checked by Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and television host who has turned into a perpetual potential candidate-in-waiting. “They’ll absolutely lose to the Democrat,” Trump told reporters, referring to Romney and Bush. “I’m the one person who can make this country great again. But an unfocused meandering speech earned her widespread scorn not only from the media, but many Republicans who see her and Trump as unhelpful distractions. At the beginning and end of the summit, King asked the crowd if they believed one of the speakers would become the next president of the United States. Despite the media speculation surrounding their potential candidacies, there is nothing substantive happening in Iowa so far that would indicate either is seriously contemplating mounting a run. (Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)

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