FROM Rich Galen
The RNC 2016: A Success or a Failure? Senator Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement speech last night is yet another example of a convention that has not quite gone according to plan. Does this incident along with other controversies like the Melania plagiarism kerfuffle reflect what a Trump presidency would look like?
The Commander in Chief and the Evolution of Terrorism In a rare speech from the oval office last night, President Obama tried to bolster the morale of Americans. He did not outline any new plan to defeat the Islamic State, and Republican reaction ranged from House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling the speech "nothing new," to presidential candidates -- unanimous in saying the president's strategy isn’t working. Nobody has offered a strategy to prevent another San Bernardino with lone wolves acting alone, without any known confederates or Internet presence. Despite the power of military force and electronic surveillance, will the next national nightmare also be revealed only in hindsight?
The GOP and the Road to the White House Three freshman Senators are already campaigning for next year's Republican presidential nomination — but they won't be lonely. Nine others are likely to compete against Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz from Texas -- and now, Florida's Marco Rubio . Yesterday, when Rubio announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination, he didn't mention Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton — by name. He didn't have to. "This election is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be. Just yesterday a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over" We hear where they differ so far and how each might play with Latino Voters, moderates, mega-donors — and the base of the Republican Party.
Immigration Reform: A Mixed Bag for Republicans Immigration reform means one thing to Republicans on Capitol Hill and something else to the GOP's chances of winning the White House in 2016. When Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Congressional seat in last week's Virginia primary to a tea partier, conventional wisdom blamed his willingness to work with Democrats for some immigration reform. But Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, an outspoken proponent of "comprehensive" reform, won in South Carolina without being forced into a run-off. Although "comprehensive" reform is being declared "dead" in Congress, smaller steps are alive and well in many state legislatures also controlled by the GOP. What are the lessons for the Republican Party? We hear how a new generation of so-called "Dreamers" has learned to play a nonpartisan game to accomplish their interests.
Taking Stock of the First Debate In last night's debate , Mitt Romney was an aggressive challenger, not afraid to accuse a sitting President of not telling the truth. The consensus is that an aggressive Romney won the debate against Barack Obama , a President who was defensive and lacking in energy. We sample early reaction and ask how it might influence the remaining month of a close and hard-fought campaign.
Will Last Night's Debate Change the Momentum? In Colorado this morning, President Obama gave an energetic stump speech, but even Democrats agree he was uninspired in last night's debate compared to Mitt Romney . Republicans are cheering Romney's aggressive performance, and both sides are wondering why the President failed to seize several obvious opportunities. Was he out of practice? Was it part of his campaign strategy? Will a different Obama turn up the next time around? In the meantime, can Romney use positive news coverage to establish a lead among potential American voters?
Healthcare: The Law and the Politics The US Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act constitutional , a major victory for President Obama . The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with four liberal colleagues against conservatives, splitting the court five to four. The "mandate" requiring all Americans to buy health insurance was upheld — but the majority called it a "tax" — and that gave Mitt Romney an opening. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said today he'll introduce a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act when Congress returns to Washington. We hear about today's opinion, and what it could mean for the availability of healthcare, the presidential campaign and the powers of Congress.
Americans Respond to the State of the Union President Obama told Congress and the American people last night that, "the state of our Union is getting stronger." It was an upbeat message in marked contrast to the doom and gloom expressed by Republican challengers in town halls, television ads and 18 televised debates. The President asked for unity, but acknowledged partisan gridlock, and advocated tax reforms that sounded tailored to fit Mitt Romney. We hear excerpts and political analysis, and talk to Americans outside the Beltway what they heard when their President spoke to them. (This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network .)
The Ups-and-Downs of Gingrich and the GOP Presidential Field While Mitt Romney stays at the top of the pack, a series of Republican presidential contenders has risen and fallen as polls show that likely voters are politically fickle. The latest to move up is Newt Gingrich , with a possible backlash as what political pros call his "negatives" rise to the surface. A poll by Bloomberg News in Iowa shows Herman Cain and Ron Paul leading Romney, with Gingrich coming on strong. The range of support goes from 17 percent for him to 20 percent for Cain. Rich Galen, who was communications strategist for then-House Speaker Gingrich, is still a GOP strategist, and blogs at Mullings.com .
Republicans Go to the Mat in Iowa Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment was "never speak ill of another Republican.” Not all this year's presidential candidates got the message. Last night's debate featured unusually nasty exchanges between Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty , candidates with a lot at stake in Iowa. All eight contenders practiced attacks on Barack Obama and promised they'd never raise taxes, even if they got 10 times more spending cuts than new revenue. Did consensus front-runner Mitt Romney hold onto his lead? Did newcomer Jon Huntsman make an impression? Were they all overshadowed by the man who wasn't there -- Rick Perry , who will enter the race tomorrow? We hear excerpts and a variety of opinions.
A Debate in Name Only At St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire last night — and on cable TV -- seven Republicans spent two hours denouncing Barack Obama . There was no question that the target for six other Republican candidates was Democratic President rather than front-runner Mitt Romney . How did the candidates distinguish themselves from each other? Did they narrow the field or will other candidates see a chance to jump in? Other candidates in last night's debate or mentioned in this discussion include: Herman Cain John Huntsman Michele Bachmann Newt Gingrich Rick Santorum Ron Paul Tim Pawlenty
A Debate in Name Only When the GOP stages its first presidential primary next year in New Hampshire, the candidates will be running against each other. But in last night's debate at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire, they made President Obama their only real target, and passed up opportunities to speak ill of fellow Republicans. What did they do to distinguish themselves? Did Tim Pawlenty challenge Mitt Romney 's establishment front-runner status? Did Michele Bachmann make a difference? Did Newt Gingrich show he can still run, even without a campaign staff? We hear excerpts from the candidates and get some expert opinions. Other candidates appearing in last night's debate or discussed in this segment include: Herman Cain John Huntsman Ron Paul Rick Santorum
What Are the Republicans Waiting For? Haley Barbour has dropped out and, except for Mitt Romney , most other GOP heavyweights are looking for money, while potential donors are sizing them up. One GOP strategist said Thursday's debate in South Carolina "looked like the bar scene from Star Wars," and House Speaker Boehner didn't bother to watch. Republicans, even those with double-digit support in the polls, have been slow to get into the race for the presidential nomination. Today, Newt Gingrich said he'll be the first to announce on Wednesday. Is he big enough to make others worry about being left behind? Is President Obama stronger than they suspected or weak enough that a late start won't matter for the eventual GOP nominee? Other GOP candidates discussed include: Tim Pawlenty Rick Santorum Herman Cain Mitch Daniels
Assessing Obama's 2011 State of the Union President Obama went to the battleground state of Wisconsin today to emphasize last night's call in the State of the Union address for "investment" in clean energy. He spoke to cheering workers at the Orion Energy Systems company. President Obama presents the State of the Union address Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) presents the Republican response
The State of the Union, the GOP and the 2012 Presidential Campaign In his second speech on the State of the Union , Barack Obama told a divided Congress that "contentious" debates are a "good thing" that "robust democracy demands." He also called for a new era of cooperation. Today, at a clean-tech energy company in Wisconsin, Obama re-emphasized last night's theme that "innovation" will create the jobs of the future. But in the official response to his State of the Union address, Republicans said his call for "investment" was a recipe for more government spending. What else did the President tell a divided Congress and the American people? What are the prospects for new legislation and the political future? President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan delivers the Republican response
Healthcare Reform: Will a Milestone Turn Into a Millstone? Two months ago, healthcare reform seemed all but dead, and there was talk that, despite Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, President Obama might be unable to govern. Late last night, he proclaimed that his party had overcome partisanship, special interests, cynicism and fear in passing the healthcare overhaul .
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.