Tag Archives: 2016 Republican Primary

NBC’s Chuck Todd: Trump, Cruz Have ‘Tried to Co-Opt’ Parts of Ron Paul’s Message

On last Thursday’s episode of Meet the Press Daily on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd, who also serves as a moderator for Meet the Press on NBC, asked libertarian icon and former Republican Congressman Ron Paul if he could support the presidential ambitions of either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz.

Now, there’s some parts of your message though that I think Donald Trump’s tried to co-opt. I think there’s some part of your message that Ted Cruz has tried to co-opt. Do believe that and have they— are either one of them speaking to you enough that you could envision supporting them?asked Todd.

Impossible,” replied Paul, who then suggested that Trump and Cruz are “authoritarians” and said that “libertarians are non-authoritarians.

He continued, “So especially [their] foreign policy [positions] and then when it comes to the drug war. How many are out there talking about the evils of the drug war and how we throw people in jail? Rand was the only one that talked about that. But no, they’re pushed aside— they can’t stand to have that in a debate so they put him aside and he doesn’t get to present that case.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Ron Paul Talks Media Bias, Rand Paul Campaign]

Todd also pointed out to Paul that Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders “most often voted for some of your bills than anybody else running in this race.

Yes,” Paul replied. “It could be because we did work together and people would say, ‘Why are you and Bernie you know, agreeing on this issue?’ But we would both attack subsidies of corporations, but he is an outright authoritarian because on economic matters he would be totally authoritarian for the re-distribution of wealth and just soak it to the rich, even if the rich didn’t make it off special contracts for the government.

Speaking on Sanders’ foreign policy positions, Paul said, “He’s not a non-interventionist, but he certainly is a lot better than the other Democrats.

[RELATED: Dr. Ron Paul: Election Process “Is Orchestrated By Mainstream Media”]

Paul then argued that President Obama had enacted some policies appreciated by libertarians and pointed to his opening of trade relations with Cuba and his lifting of sanctions on Iran.

Despite the fact that a libertarian candidate has not yet surged in the polls in the 2016 presidential race, Paul struck an optimistic tone in his assessment of the recent victories of the U.S. libertarian movement.

I think there are great strides to emphasize the benefits of non-intervention in foreign policy, and, right now even, we’re winning in the [repeal of the] drug war. Most states are now nullifying federal laws. They’re saying, ‘To heck with ya’. Those laws are stupid.’ So I think libertarianism is making great progress in many ways, but don’t look to the people in Washington and the national debate, especially if they regulate the debates to the point where the libertarian message is excluded.

For more election coverage, click here.

Cruz Rebukes Trump’s Mass Deportation Plan, Says ‘We Don’t Live in a Police State’

Senator from Texas and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he opposes Donald Trump’s plan for a new deportation force that would seek out and round up undocumented immigrants.

In the above-embedded video, CNN’s Jake Tapper can be seen asking Sen. Cruz, “You [and Donald Trump] both say you want to deport the 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Now, Trump has said that he will have a deportation force that will go door-to-door and round people up and get rid of them. You haven’t really been clear as far as I can tell as to how you’re going to get all these people out of the country. How will you get them out?

[RELATED: Reality Check: Ted Cruz Says Middle East Was Better Off Before War On Terror]

Sen. Cruz replied by explaining his border security plan, prompting Tapper to clarify, “I’m not talking about the border, though. I’m talking about the people that are already in this country… how do you get the people that are already in here out?

Cruz said, “You put in place a strong E-verify system. That means people cannot get employment without proving that they’re here legally. You put in place a strong biometric exit/entry system for visas so that we know the instance someone overstays their visa. Forty percent of illegal immigration is visa overstays and by the way you can’t – deportations are ineffective until you secure the border. Why? Because right now when we deport someone, often they come back in two or three days. It’s like if a boat is sinking you’ve got to patch it up before you start bailing. If you never fix the hole, it will never work.

He added, “We have an enforcement force. It’s called Border Patrol and it’s called Immigration and Customs Enforcement… If I am elected president, I will follow the Constitution and I will enforce the law. Federal immigration law says that if we apprehended an individual who is here illegally they are to be deported. I will enforce the law.”

Tapper pressed, “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it seems like a fairly simple answer yes or no. Will you have people going door-to-door rounding people up?

Sen. Cruz replied, “Door-to-door, we don’t have any system that knocks on the doors of every person in America. That is not actually how the American law enforcement system works. We also don’t have people going door-to-door looking for murderers. We don’t live in a police state. We do have law enforcement. How do we catch people? We catch them through things like E-verify. We catch them through things like the criminal law enforcement system where in 2013 do you know how many criminal illegal aliens the Obama Administration released? It was over 104,000. 196 with homicide convictions, murderers. Roughly 400 with sexual assault convictions, rapists. That – those numbers should be zero. Over 16,000 with drunk driving convictions. So, we enforce the laws.

After criticizing Tapper for playing a “media game” by asking the question about Trump’s “deportation force” plan, Cruz concluded his explanation of his position on undocumented immigration by saying, “No, I don’t intend to send jack boots to knock on your door and every door in America. That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime.

The below-embedded MSNBC video, provided for context, shows Donald Trump explaining his deportation force plan on a Nov. 2015 episode of Morning Joe. Trump claims that, if he becomes president, after he deports all of America’s illegal immigrants, he will allow “some fantastic people that have been here for a long period of time” to apply for citizenship for the chance to return to the U.S.

For more election coverage, click here.

CNBC Unveils Qualified Candidates for Oct. 28 GOP Presidential Debate

CNBC announced on Wednesday that ten candidates have beaten the 2.5 percent minimum polling requirement in an average of specifically outlined national presidential preference polls, and therefore have qualified to face off at 8 p.m. EST on the main stage at the network’s televised October 28 Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Coors Events Center.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul have qualified for the event’s main stage.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, former New York Governor George Pataki, and U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham fell short of the main stage’s polling requirement but qualified for the event’s junior varsity undercard and will square off at 6 p.m. EST.

CNBC said that candidates will be arranged on stage on the basis of their polling averages. “Donald Trump and Ben Carson will anchor the center of the stage for the 8PM ET debate. To Donald Trump’s right will be Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich, in that order. To Ben Carson’s left will be Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, in that order,” the network noted.

The debate has been titled “The Republican Presidential Debate: Your Money, Your Vote” and will primarily feature questions on economics, taxes, and technology. CNBC announced that “Carl Quintanilla, co-anchor of ‘Squawk on the Street’ and ‘Squawk Alley,’ Becky Quick, co-anchor of ‘Squawk Box’ and Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood” will serve as moderators for the event.

CNBC originally stated that candidates would not be allowed an opportunity to give an opening and closing statement so as to leave what Politico’s Alex Isenstadt characterized as “more time for the candidates to potentially clash with one another.”

The GOP candidates then protested the length of the debate and the absence of opening and closing statements, which climaxed in Donald Trump and Ben Carson threatening to boycott the contest. According to CNN, CNBC subsequently gave in to some of their demands by capping the debate at two hours including commercials and agreeing to present to each candidate an open ended question at the beginning of the debate and a 30 second closing statement at the end.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Ben Carson: U.S. Dollar ‘Not Based on Anything. Why Would We Be Continuing to Do That?’

During an interview on economics last week, 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson raised questions about U.S. monetary policy and said that as president he would not authorize any government spending increases.

Outlining his government spending policy, Carson told Marketplace:

[pull_quote_center]If we simply refuse to extend the budget by one penny for three to four years, you got a balanced budget. Just like that. So this is not pie in the sky, very difficult thing to accomplish. Having said that, one of the bugaboos that has kept us from reducing government in the past is sacred cows. What I would do is first of all, allow the government to shrink by attrition. Don’t replace the people who are retiring, thousands of them each year. And No. 2: Take every departmental head, or sub-department head and tell them, ‘I want a 3 to 4 percent reduction.’ Now anybody who tells me there’s not 3 to 4 percent fat in virtually everything that we do is fibbing to themselves.[/pull_quote_center]

When Carson was asked by Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal whether he would support now-routine increases to the U.S. debt limit, he replied, “Let me put it this way: if I were the president, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely would not do it. They would have to find a place to cut… I would provide the kind of leadership that says, ‘Get on the stick guys, and stop messing around, and cut where you need to cut, because we’re not raising any spending limits, period.’

[RELATED: Ben Carson Says He Would Secure U.S.-Mexico Border with Drone Strikes]

He added, “I mean if we continue along this, where does it stop? It never stops. You’re always gonna ask the same question every year. And we’re just gonna keep going down that pathway. That’s one of the things I think that the people are tired of.

Carson then raised questions about America’s fiat monetary system and said that it enables out-of-control spending:

[pull_quote_center]Now the only reason that we can sustain that kind of debt is because of our artificial ability to print money, to create what we think is wealth, but it is not wealth, because it’s based upon our faith and credit. You know, we decoupled it from the domestic gold standard in 1933, and from the international gold standard in 1971, and since that time, it’s not based on anything. Why would we be continuing to do that?[/pull_quote_center]

Responding to a question asking him to pinpoint the gravest issue facing the U.S. economy, Carson said, “I think our debt is horrendous. You know, one of the things that happens with this level of debt is that it’s very difficult for the Fed to raise interest rates. And why is that such a problem? Well it used to be that Joe the Butcher would take 5 percent of his earnings every week and put it into a savings account. And he would watch that grow over two, or three, or four decades. And by the time he was ready to retire, he was in good shape. Now, poor people and middle-class people really don’t have a mechanism to grow their money. The only people who can grow their money are people who have a certain risk tolerance. And those tend to be upper-income people who can utilize the stock market.

Noticing what appeared to be Carson’s anti-Federal Reserve rhetoric, Ryssdal asked him to comment specifically on the Federal Reserve and its chair Janet Yellen. Carson balked at the chance to criticize either directly and said, “Well, you know, I’ve known Janet Yellen for a long time. We’ve served on boards together, and she’s a very intelligent individual, very responsible, and obviously is trying to do what she thinks is right. But she’s caught between a rock and a hard place, and I understand that. And that’s why I would tend to really put the emphasis on driving down our debt, because that’s how we begin to correct the problem. You know, unless we correct the fundamental problems, all the other stuff we’re doing isn’t going to matter that much.

Carson also said that early wealthy American industrialists built the foundation for America’s economic engine. “You know, the Europeans, they looked over here and they saw the Rockefellers, and the Vanderbilts, and the Fords, and the Kelloggs, and the Carnegies, and the Mellons, and they said you can’t run a country like that. You’ve gotta have an overarching government that receives all the funding and equity that redistributes it, so we actually inspired socialism.”

“But all of those people that I just mentioned,” Carson continued, “they didn’t just hoard money and pass it down from generation to generation, they built the infrastructure of our country. They build the transcontinental railroads and seaports and textile mills and factories that enabled the development of the most powerful and dynamic middle class the world has ever seen, which rapidly propelled us to the pinnacle,” he said.

Commenting on Carson’s questioning of America’s fiat currency system, Washington Post writer Matt O’Brien implied that the retired neurosurgeon is not a “candidate of serious policy,” criticized the concept of a gold dollar standard, and defended the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of interest rates.

Mises Institute’s Ryan McMaken then challenged O’Brien’s critique of Carson on the issue. “Without a hint of irony, O’Brien suggests that interest rates guided by the market simply lack the wisdom of our current PhD Standard,” said McMaken.

For more election coverage, click here.

CNBC Releases Criteria for Inclusion in Oct. 28 GOP Presidential Debate

CNBC released the candidates’ criteria on Wednesday for its upcoming televised October 28 Republican presidential debate, the third of the 2016 election season. The contest, titled “Your Money, Your Vote: The Presidential Debate on the Economy,” will feature Chuck Todd from NBC’s Meet the Press as a moderator and is set to take place at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

Though initial reports suggested that CNBC might forego having a second-tier debate for candidates who fail to qualify for the main stage, the news network has confirmed that it will indeed offer an undercard round, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. EST. CNBC’s prime time debate will kick off afterwards at 8:00 p.m. EST.

CNBC wrote in an announcement on the debate’s criteria, “National polls will be used to determine a candidate’s eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.

The announcement continued, “To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

NBC News pointed out as an example that “based only on this week’s NBC News/WSJ poll,” “Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Chris Christiewould qualify for the main stage, “Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal” would only qualify for the second-tier stage, and “Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore” would fail to qualify for either round.

CBS News’ Reena Flores wrote, “The CNBC criteria could also spell danger for one Republican contender teetering on the edge of the first tier debate stage: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Paul’s current poll numbers average at 2.8 percent — enough to round up to 3 percent and secure a spot in the primetime debate. But two new polls at 2 percent would be all it takes to shove Paul into CNBC’s earlier debate.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Can The Republican Party Kick Donald Trump Out Of The Debates?]

Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign sounded an optimistic tone about the criteria in comments to Breibart, noting that Paul’s current polling results are on pace to qualify him for inclusion on the debate’s main stage.

We are pleased that Senator Rand Paul will be on the main stage in Colorado. We look forward to seeing him present a clear vision for liberty later this month,” said Paul campaign communications director Sergio Gor.

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Carson Says He Would Consider Evidence That a Suspect’s Religion Shows Probable Cause For Searches

2016 Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said on Sunday’s episode of ABC’s The Week that he does not feel that religion should be considered a type of probable cause for investigating U.S. Syrian refugees, but that he would be willing to listen to arguments by those who feel that it should.

During the interview, ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz challenged Carson to defend his recent controversial comments suggesting that he would be opposed to supporting a Muslim American for president.

Carson modified his position and clarified that “anybody, it doesn’t matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution, I have no problem with them.

Raddatz then asked Carson whether he believes that all Muslims support the imposition of Sharia law.

Carson replied, “What we should be talking about is Islam and the tenets of Islam and where do they come from? They come from Sharia. They come from the Quran. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars. You know, and if you go back and you look at — what I would like for somebody to show me is an approved Islamic text that opposes Sharia.

He continued, “If you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this, but, right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?

[RELATED: Ben Carson Says He Would Secure U.S.-Mexico Border with Drone Strikes]

Proposing a hypothetical scenario for consideration, Raddatz asked, “I want to turn to the migrant crisis. You told me a few weeks ago that bringing in people from the Middle East right now carries extra danger and we can not put our people at risk because we are trying to be politically correct. Let’s imagine some of those refugees get into the United States. For authorities to track emails, cell phone calls, they usually need to have probable cause. Do you think in some instances religion should be enough for probable cause?

Carson responded, “I personally don’t feel that way, but I would certainly be willing to listen to somebody who had evidence to the contrary. I think that’s one of the problems, we get to our little corners, and we don’t want to listen to anybody anymore.

For more election coverage, click here.

Trump Fails to Identify National Security Threats During Foreign Policy Interview

In a clip from last Thursday’s episode of The Hugh Hewitt Show, embedded above, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump failed to identify the names of various leaders of international terrorist organizations, sparking a feud between Trump and Hewitt, whom Trump accused of asking “gotcha” questions.

Hewitt, who has been tapped to serve as a moderator at CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate, asked, “But on the front of Islamist terrorism, I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?

[RELATED: CNN Amends Criteria For GOP Debate Lineup]

Donald Trump replied, “No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll, but they’re all changing, Hugh. You know, those are like history questions. Do you know this one, do you know that one. I will tell you, I thought you used the word Kurd before. I will tell you that I think the Kurds are the most under-utilized and are being totally mistreated by us. And nobody understands why. But as far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If, if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.”

Earlier in the interview, Trump appeared unaware of Iran’s elite Quds Force and confused the military group with the Kurds, a Middle Eastern ethnic group.

Now I don’t believe in gotcha questions. And I’m not trying to quiz you on who the worst guy in the world is,” said Hewitt, defending his line of questioning.

Trump fired back, “Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people. Now it probably will be a lot of changes, Hugh, as you go along. They’ll be, by the time we get there, which is still a pretty long period of time, you know, you start, let’s say you figure out nominations, and who is going to represent the Republicans in, let’s say, February, March, April, you’ll start to get pretty good ideas, maybe sooner than that, actually. But that will be a whole new group of people. I think what is really important is to pick out, and this is something I’m so good at, to pick out who is going to be the best person to represent us militarily, because we have some great people, militarily. I don’t know that we’re using them.

Near the end of the interview, Hewitt warned Trump that he might face the same line of questioning at CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate and said, “At the debate, I may bring up Nasrallah being with Hezbollah, and al-Julani being with al-Nusra, and al-Masri being with Hamas. Do you think if I ask people to talk about those three things, and the differences, that that’s a gotcha question?

Donald Trump replied, “Yes, I do. I totally do. I think it’s ridiculous.” He added, “All right, I think it’s ridiculous. I’ll have, I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people. And now on the bigger picture, like the fact that our Kurds are being treated so poorly, and would really is the one group that really would be out there fighting for us, I think, and fighting for themselves, maybe more importantly to them, I understand that. But when you start throwing around names of people and where they live and give me their address, I think it’s ridiculous, and I think it’s totally worthless.

Well, and by the way, the names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year,” concluded Trump.

After the show, Trump took to Twitter to blast Hewitt for asking what Trump characterized as “gotcha” questions.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/640137467014852608

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/640135836294623232

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Trump Signs RNC Loyalty Pledge Promising to Endorse Nominee “Regardless of Who It Is”

Ever since candidate Donald Trump refused to promise not to run as an independent at Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season, state and national level Republican Party organizations have been scrambling to find a way to force him to sign an oath pledging his loyalty to the party.

On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee distributed a loyalty pledge to all 2016 candidates and asked them to sign it prior to CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

According to The Guardian, Donald Trump signed the pledge on Thursday after a meeting with RNC chairman Reince Priebus and said at a press conference, “I have no intention of changing my mind. I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.” It is worth noting that his comments after signing the pledge seem to have left open the possibility that some type of unforeseen circumstance could in theory motivate him to tear up the pledge.

According to Politico, the RNC pledge reads, “I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

It continues, “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Virginia and North Carolina’s Republican Party organizations are considering forcing candidates to sign a loyalty pledge in order to obtain ballot access, and South Carolina’s GOP announced last week that candidates must promise that they “generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election” prior to September 30 in order to appear on the party’s ballot.

Former Virginia Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore told The Washington Post, “If someone is going to go to the party and ask for their support, if they’re going to ask the rank and file for their vote, that comes with an obligation for loyalty, in my mind. Generally speaking, if you want the party’s support, that loyalty should be there.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “I appreciate what [RNC chairman Reince Priebus] is trying to do [by circulating the pledge], trying to bring some level of order to this situation. The expectation should be if you’re running to be nominee of the party, you should support the nominee of the party.

Though the RNC’s circulation of the pledge appeared to be motivated primarily by the desire to get Donald Trump to swear off an independent run, asking candidates to pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee without knowing who that might be or what positions that person might be championing at that time goes even further. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, candidate Ron Paul said that he would not run as an independent but ultimately refused to endorse the party’s nominee.

The Republican Party can use its powers to deny candidates the use of its voter information database and to strip them from RNC-sanctioned debates to pressure them into falling in line. However, there is nothing stopping a candidate like Trump from signing the pledge and then backing out of it later on, other than the political reality that voters do not typically support candidates who break promises.

In the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, Ben Swann discusses the implications of the Republican National Committee’s power to ban candidates from Republican presidential debates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiH_NQ0PfRg

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Walker Calls Building U.S.-Canada Border Wall To Stop Terrorists ‘Legitimate Issue’

Donald Trump’s rise in the polls following his unapologetic advancement of a hard-line stance on immigration seems to have inspired some of the other 2016 Republican presidential candidates to follow suit.

On Sunday’s episode of NBC’s Meet the Press, Wisconsin Governor and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker told anchor Chuck Todd that he is looking at whether the U.S. should build a wall across the northern border to Canada in an effort to prevent terrorists from crossing over and attacking targets within the United States.

Why are we always talking about the southern border and building a fence there?” asked Todd. “We don’t talk about a northern border, where if this is about securing the border from potential terrorists coming over, do you want to build a wall north of the border too?

Governor Walker replied, “Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that’s a legitimate issue for us to look at.

Walker listed his plan to secure the U.S. border and enforce current immigration laws above Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship in the U.S. in priority and said, “Whether it’s talking about the 14th Amendment or anything else, until we secure the border and enforce the laws, we shouldn’t be talking about any other issue out there.

He also clarified that he is “not talking about changing the Constitution” with regards to the subject of birthright citizenship and referred to the entire discussion as a distraction.

During the Meet the Press appearance, Walker also suggested that President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq according to the timeline established by George W. Bush’s U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement “opened the door, and the vacuum has been filled by ISIS.

Ben Swann recently explored Donald Trump’s claims on birthright citizenship in a CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video. Watch it in the below-embedded video player for context in the debate over immigration reform.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Lshci7BPk

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Fearing Trump Indie Run, State GOP Leaders Mull Tying Party Loyalty Oath to Ballot Access

State-level Republican party leaders in Virginia and North Carolina are reportedly considering requiring GOP presidential candidates to sign a party loyalty oath in order to obtain ballot access in the 2016 primary.

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reasoned that “the procedural moves are clearly aimed at [Donald] Trump, who pointedly refused to rule out a third-party run during the first GOP debate.

If the leadership committees of the Va. and N.C. Republican parties were to change the rule, it would mean that GOP candidates would be required to sign an oath pledging to support the party’s eventual nominee and to not run as an independent or under another party label in the general election.

Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger notes that courts typically rule in favor of private political parties’ authority to kick candidates off primary ballots for refusing to sign loyalty oaths. “The Texas Democratic Party had a similar oath for presidential primary candidates in 2008, and Dennis Kucinich refused to sign it. He sued to get on the Texas Democratic presidential primary ballot, but the U.S. District Court and the 5th circuit upheld the authority of the party to keep Kucinich off the presidential primary ballot. Kucinich asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but it refused,” wrote Winger.

The Virginia Republican Party central committee’s 84 members are set to vote on the proposal on September 19. The state party’s ballot access rules are due to be submitted to the Republican National Committee by October 1. Virginia’s GOP previously pushed a similar requirement on state-level candidates during the 2013 and 2014 elections.

Republican Party of Virginia chairman John Whitbeck said that the proposal “happens to be one of the things that we are discussing for the 2016 primary” and claimed that it “isn’t about any single candidate.

Former Va. attorney general Ken Cuccinelli reportedly supports implementing the party loyalty oath and has been lobbying on its behalf to his state party’s central committee.

[RELATED: Ohio Sec. of State: Sore Loser Law Blocks Independent Run By Trump If GOP Bid Fails]

North Carolina party officials are also working via conference calls to implement a party loyalty oath in advance of the October 1 deadline and have hired an attorney to draft a proposal.

The Washington Post notes that though state parties can require candidates to sign a loyalty oath to obtain ballot access in the primary, they have no real leverage to do anything to enforce the rule during the general election if the candidate were to break the oath and run third-party anyway.

Parties are private organizations. They have the right not to be merged with the government. They are associations of people that come together and work together for common political goals, and so essentially they’re private,” said ballot access expert Richard Winger, explaining political parties’ legal basis for kicking candidates out of primary elections.

However, in the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video on whether the Republican National Committee can ban Donald Trump from the debates for refusing to rule out a third-party run, Ben Swann points out the fact that “American taxpayers spent $400 million administering Republican and Democratic primaries in 2012,” raising questions about just how private those political parties are given the public funding of their primary elections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiH_NQ0PfRg

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Trump: “If I’m Going Down, Then Bush Is Going Down with Me”

Reportedly motivated by a feud with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush over a failed business deal, sources close to real estate tycoon and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claim that Trump has vowed to stop Bush from ascending to the presidency.

In an article by New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman which gives an inside look into Trump’s presidential campaign, a friend and informal adviser to Donald Trump quoted the celebrity billionaire as having said, “If I’m going down, then Bush is going down with me. He’s not going to be president of the United States.

Below the headline in Sherman’s article, which focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, details are found which point to the emergence of a heated and personal feud between Trump and Jeb Bush. Reportedly, Trump blames Bush for Univision’s cancellation of its contract to televise the Miss USA Pageant.

While Trump assured me that he thinks Bush is ‘a nice person,’ he has told friends in private that his animosity is personal. According to one friend, Trump blames Bush and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim for Univision’s decision in June to cancel a $13.5 million contract with Trump to televise his Miss USA pageant. Five days later, Slim scrapped a deal with Trump to develop shows in Mexico. Trump responded by filing a $500 million lawsuit against Univision. ‘Trump believes it all goes back to Jeb,’ the friend says. ‘He thinks Jeb and his wife, Columba, are close with Carlos Slim and Univision got pressure from Slim operatives.’ In a move that further confirmed Trump’s suspicions, Univision has hired Miguel Estrada, a Washington lawyer with deep Bush ties,” wrote Sherman.

[RELATED: Paul Hits Trump On Socialized Healthcare And Support Of Clinton]

Trump plans to best a recent $10 million television ad buy by Bush’s Right to Rise super-PAC by spending “whatever it takes.

Another friend of Trump reportedly told Sherman, “[Trump’s] numbers are going to come down, and then he’s going to panic. He doesn’t believe it will ever happen. He has not confronted this in his mind.” Sherman theorized that a drop in the polls might motivate Trump to carry out “a kamikaze mission against the candidates left standing.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to ignore the Republican National Committee’s request that he take a pledge not to run against the GOP’s eventual nominee if he loses the primary.

When asked if he would consider withdrawing from the race, Trump told Sherman, “I only want to go all the way.

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Ben Carson Says He Would Secure U.S.-Mexico Border with Drone Strikes

Controversy erupted last week when 2016 Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson suggested that, as president, he would use drone strikes to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Commenting on what steps he would take in an effort to stop the travel of undocumented immigrants across America’s southern border during a visit with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu in Florence, AZ, Carson told KPHO-TV reporter Dennis Welch, “You look at some of these caves that are out there — one drone strike, boom, and they’re gone. And they’re easy to find.

In the above-embedded clip from Sunday’s episode of CNN’s State of the Union, Ben Carson went into greater detail and told CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta that he would order drone strikes, not to kill people, but to target caves that he claims smugglers utilize to hide undocumented immigrants along the border.

Appearing frustrated at the media’s suggestion that his drone strike plan might be used to target people such as members of drug cartels, Carson clarified, “That’s a total lie. What I said is it’s possible that a drone could be used to destroy the caves that are utilized to hide people. Those need to be gotten rid of.” Carson claimed that “scouts and the people who are facilitating illegal activity” utilize a network of caves on the border to hide immigrants in preparation for entry into the United States and that his strikes on those caves would be timed to avoid targeting people.

[RELATED: Carson and Cruz Surge in Latest Poll]

Read my lips,” said Carson, “Listen very carefully to what I’m saying. I said there are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities, that could be one of them. I’m not talking about killing people. No people with drones.

Carson also called for broader use of the military and the National Guard to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Jesse Ventura: Trump’s Border Wall Plan Would Make U.S. “Look Like a Prison”

Former Minnesota Governor, Navy SEAL, and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura addressed 2016 presidential candidate and billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump’s proposal to force Mexico to pay for a massive wall on the southern U.S. border in a recent clip, seen above (or click here to watch), from his Ora.Tv show Off The Grid.

Ventura, who has endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for president in 2016 and who lives part of the year in Mexico, feels Trump’s immigration proposal would effectively transform the U.S. into a penal colony.

Ventura asked his viewers, “Well, being one that crosses that border more often than probably most people do, do we really want to put a wall around our country? We stand for freedom, and yet we want to put up a wall that makes the United States look like a prison?

Walls are a two way street. Not only will they keep people out, but they will also keep you in. I do not want to live with walls around my country. I do not want to live like I live inside East Berlin and I don’t feel a wall is going to protect me any more or less than if there were none at all,” he added.

[RELATED: Judge Napolitano Blasts Donald Trump On Immigration Plans]

Ventura said that if national security were the primary objective behind building a wall, politicians should not neglect the threat of terrorists crossing over the Canadian border and “just put the wall around the whole country“, because, “if you believe the 9/11 report, the hijackers came down from Canada.”

He also commented on how it takes him longer to cross into the U.S. from Mexico than it does for him to cross the border in the other direction. “When I drive into Mexico, I’m welcomed. Nobody there questions why I’m there. In fact, they welcome me for coming down there. Yet, when I turn around and come back to my own home country, the United States, it usually takes me two to three hours in an unconditional questioning… Right now it is easier to go into Mexico as an American than it is to go into my own country as a United States citizen. Something is sorely wrong with that.

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Citing Security Risk, Judge Bars Disclosure of Christie’s Ballooning Travel Expenses

Earlier this month, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson dismissed an Open Public Records Act suit filed by New Jersey Watchdog investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist which would have forced Governor Chris Christie to release receipts of the $1.1 million in American Express charges for food, lodging, and other travel expenses that have been spent by his state police security team since 2010.

According to The Record, Judge Jacobson ruled that releasing those details would put Gov. Christie’s security at risk after she reviewed secret evidence presented by Captain Kevin Cowan, head of Christie’s Executive Protection Unit. Capt. Cowan reportedly swore “unequivocally” that the release of his unit’s expense records would pose a security threat.

Explaining the in-state controversy over Gov. Christie’s travel expenses, Lagerkvist wrote, “The Executive Protection Unit’s travel expenses increased with the frequency of Christie’s out-of-state trips to pursue his political ambitions, including his run for the White House. Last year, costs totaled $494,420 as the governor traveled outside New Jersey for more than 100 days. That sum is 22 times more than the $21,704 spent in 2009, former Gov. Jon Corzine’s last year in office.” He added, “While Christie’s [presidential] campaign may pay for his [campaign] travel expenses, state taxpayers are stuck with the costs of the state police officers assigned to follow him wherever he goes.

A July Monmouth University poll found that 82 percent of N.J. residents want Christie to reimburse taxpayers for travel security expenses related to his presidential aspirations, which he has refused to do. Presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, on the other hand, is reimbursing his state’s taxpayers for similar expenses through a political action committee associated with his presidential campaign.

[RELATED: Paul, Christie Clash Over NSA Spying at GOP Debate]

At a May hearing over the Open Public Records request, Lagerkvist showed Judge Jacobson a YouTube video, seen below, in which Gov. Christie revealed to a Boy Scout at a town hall meeting specific details about the number of officers that accompany him when he travels to events. Judge Jacobson, who later ruled in Christie’s favor, said at that time, “The governor speaks so freely about this, how can I conclude that releasing these details on amount of food and so forth could really in any significant way undermine the governor’s security?

Court filings note that Capt. Cowan told Judge Jacobson that Christie’s admission at the town hall did not expose how the Executive Protection Unit conducts security while he is traveling out of state, meaning the release of expense records would provide even more information about the governor’s security detail. “He explained in detail how they are fundamentally different – and that is something that is confidential,” said Judge Jacobson.

According to The Record, Lagerkvist said, “These should be public records. Why should taxpayers be paying for our governor to chase his political ambitions elsewhere?

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Kasich’s Foreign Policy Positions: Boots on the Ground vs. ISIS, Arm Syrian Rebels

Following his breakout performance in Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season, Ohio Governor John Kasich is surging in New Hampshire, but, as a lesser-known candidate to voters outside of Ohio, many politicos are unaware of his specific positions on the issues.

During his time as a congressman, Kasich served for 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee. As a candidate for president, Kasich is positioning himself in the Republican Party’s more hawkish wing on foreign policy.

A CNN op-ed by Kasich, published on Monday, painted a frightful picture of U.S. national security under President Obama. “Terrorism is increasingly striking here at home. Regional powers are challenging the postwar security order. Nuclear weapons are proliferating. Cyberspace has become a battlefield. The U.S. has neglected both our military and our alliances and has apparently decided, instead, to try to lead from behind,” wrote Kasich.

Though his op-ed fell short of outlining specific foreign policy positions, in May, Kasich told Jonathan Karl on ABC’s This Week, “I said months ago that we ought to have a coalition of our Western partners and our — any of our allies in the Middle East to form a coalition to knock ISIS out. And if that includes American boots on the ground, so be it.

Look, three big problems: One, we disbanded the Iraqi army and we have nothing but chaos since we started. Two, we failed to arm the opposition in Syria to push Assad out, which would have been strategic because of the support for Iran and Russia in regard to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. Then we had a red line and we ignored that. And now we find out that over in Syria, they’re dropping barrel chlorine bombs on people. So, you know, it’s been a feckless foreign policy,” Kasich continued, criticizing President Obama.

In February of this year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode, seen below, exposing the fact that the federal government actually did covertly fund and train Syrian rebels to fight Assad and, in so doing, led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

https://youtu.be/o6kdi1UXxhY

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