Mike Huckabee says he will announce presid…

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 race kicks off with long day of auditions in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN)The 2016 Republican presidential race in Iowa got its unofficial start Saturday with a marathon of speeches, giving close to a dozen potential candidates a chance to introduce (or re-introduce) themselves to a core group of caucus-goers roughly one year before the contest.Mike Huckabee will head to Iowa on Saturday to speak at a gathering of grassroots social conservatives at a 2016 kick-off event hosted by a virulently anti-immigrant congressman.

On Friday afternoon, Huckabee hawked his new book, Guns, God, Grits and Gravy to a few dozen people huddled in an auditorium off Madison Avenue in Manhattan at a private club that charges a $50,000 initiation fee and a $15,000 in dues thereafter. He spoke on a range of issues from immigration policy to Common Core education standards. “When you become an active candidate, then you file the FEC papers. In the book, he details the difference between “BubbaVille,” which is the great mass of the country, and “Bubble-ville,” which consists of the few dozen or so people gathered at the Core Club to hear Huckabee’s pitch. Most work under the table for cash (remember, pal, employers of illegals are also breaking the law) and many steal Social Security numbers and report the income fraudulently. But the former Arkansas governor, who recently stepped away from his perch as weekend host on Fox News to explore a run for president, presented himself as someone with a bit of a foot in both worlds—the Arkansas of his youth (even if he has now parlayed his small screen success into a beach front home in Florida) and the big city where he would fly to shoot his show. “I don’t think I could live in New York unless the mayor would let me duck hunt in Central Park,” he said. “Which I never got a permit to do.” “It is imperative that we stop fighting among ourselves because if you have suicide bombers who are willing to blow themselves up inside their own tent, then a lot of your own soldiers are going to get blown up too,” Huckabee said, urging his fellow Republicans to stop calling each other “RINOs”—or Republicans in Name Only.

Notably, the Arkansas Republican walked a fine line — and indicated a split with other conservative 2016 hopefuls — when asked about immigration policy concerning so-called DREAMers, undocumented Americans who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. Doing so, he said, means “I have now just assumed the position that I get to establish the standard of orthodoxy for Republicans, that I singularly am able to determine what it is that a Republican really ought to be. To make matters worse, too many of these invaders are hauling in welfare, disability for “not speaking English,” food stamps, boxes of free food at the food banks, free meals at our schools and free medical care. The big insult is the millions in costs to taxpayers for the free deliveries of their “anchor babies” that are putting hospitals in such dire straits and loading the system that Americans can’t avail themselves of.

Still, Huckabee stressed his belief that President Obama’s 2012 executive action was unconstitutional and suggested he would roll it back if he were elected president. Huckabee also addressed criticism that he has flip-flopped on Common Core, a set of education standards that he once defended but to which he is now firmly opposed. In light of the massive costs to the U.S., it is shameful to play the sucker-sympathy card and offer special deals in education to these invaders, while most of us can’t even afford higher education.

Common Core has become one of the most politically potent issues among 2016 hopefuls thus far, leading education activists and political strategists to accuse Huckabee of shifting his position for political reasons. “I’m absolutely against what Common Core has come to stand for, but it’s totally different than what it was intended to be,” Huckabee said, defending his change of heart. “The original intent, which was conceived out of the Achieve movement from the mid-90s that a number of governors — most of them, in fact, Republicans — put forth to keep state standards, not letting the federal government get in control.” For the 10-hour day of back-to-back speeches, “the candidates” — as they were called — joined other high-profile Republicans at Hoyt Sherman Place, an old, intricate theater built in 1877 that also became the first public art museum in Des Moines.

When he met New Yorkers milling around the lobby waiting to hear him talk, Huckabee, in his honeydew Arkansas accent, apologized for the coldness of his hands when he shook theirs. K.T McFarland, the Fox News commentator, introduced her former co-worker by describing him as the nicest guy in the building, the one who everybody from the security guards to “the big boss who decides whether you get the job, Roger Ailes, who also calls Mike Huckabee a friend.” But when he was asked about Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, who had a “secret meeting” on Thursday that Huckabee sneered “was so secret it was on the cover of New York Times.” “They both have strong credentials. Steve King, a revered lawmaker who represents the northwestern part of the state and has considerable clout among the more social conservative and Christian right faction of the party.

I am of the opinion that our present immigration laws work just fine with some adjustment to “so-called reforms during the Clinton era.” Those that say the Republican leadership shot down immigration reform to get at President Obama are not correct. What the House accomplished in this most recent round was denying the liberal Democratic lawyers that largely make up the legal segment of the immigration field the ability to gain a windfall profit from the immigration issue. That’s why it is science.” Huckabee also called himself a “conservationist” who is a great believer in alternative energy but added that “the fact that we have fossil fuel energy that could sustain us for 600 years I think is something to celebrate.” Yes, Huckabee said, he would. The Republicans in Congress figure the best way to maintain control in Congress is to make sure Democratic attorneys have no areas where they can obtain windfall profits and pick up votes from sympathetic voters.

As a retired educator of 22 years, I encouraged every student to do their best and go to college; denying that opportunity to some is mean-spirited and does not reflect our Judeo-Christian values. If Dan Patrick has his way, he will repeal HB1403, which allows high school graduates who attend a Texas school and lived in the state at least three years prior to graduating to get in-state tuition, regardless of their immigration status. Ticking through a somewhat dizzying and hard-to-follow speech, Palin suggested that the country is ready for a woman leader — just not Hillary Clinton.

Texas will be the loser if their parents decide to take all their children, citizen and undocumented, and leave Texas for a state that is more welcoming for their children. Rick Santorum who won the state’s caucuses in 2012 and Huckabee, who won in 2008 — tried to remind Iowans why they picked them in the first place, dipping into their personalities but also focusing on the issues. Given King’s firebrand credentials as an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, it was no surprise that problems at the border became a focal point in much of the speeches Saturday. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, argued “there wouldn’t be people coming in here if there wasn’t a magnet pulling them in,” suggesting there should be criminal punishment for employers who hire undocumented workers. The main target in the immigration battle, however, was President Barack Obama’s executive action to delay deportation for up to five million undocumented immigrants.

Or as Palin put it, in her folksy swagger, Obama’s decision makes him seem “like an overgrown little boy who’s just acting kinda spoiled.” Speakers railed against the President’s pledge to use his “pen and his phone” to work around Congress, with immigration as just one example of what many called the president’s “overreach.” That was punctuated when DREAM Act Coalition protesters interrupted Rick Perry’s speech, leading to one arrest and theater full of Iowans trying to drown out the demonstrators’ chants. The potential candidates also warned about what they see as a dire path for the country, in particular when it comes to foreign policy, a theme that, along with immigration, also seems poised to become a flash point in the 2016 presidential race, unlike in 2012. Cruz, like several speakers, said the President will fail in the war on terror if he refuses to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There was plenty of the usual Iowa charm on stage, speeches with pig analogies and corn references. Cruz won huge applause for proposing to place 110,000 IRS employees on the southern border, joking that they’ll do a better job at deterring illegal immigration than anything else. Nearly all of them referred to her as their “friend,” and almost equal amount of affection and time was dedicated to the state’s other beloved senator, Chuck Grassley.

He talked about implementing voter ID laws, and he painted himself as the valiant warrior who took on the public employees and won during the collective bargaining rights debate of 2011. “If he could do on a nationwide scale what he did in Wisconsin, this country would be,” one man, Michael Patomson, started to say, before his friend, Bill Hartzell, interjected: “Transformed. Bobby Jindal, also skipped the event, but given that it’s year ahead before Iowans start to caucus, it’s unlikely that missing one event will hurt them. Walker, as he closed his speech, offered a pledge that will likely be mirrored by several of the speakers on stage over the next year: “I’m going to come back many more times.”

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