Tag Archives: Marco Rubio

GOP Candidates Call Snowden a ‘Traitor,’ U.S. Has Yet to Charge Him with Treason

While the remaining GOP candidates have spoken out against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, calling him a “traitor,” the United States government has yet to formally charge him with treason.

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the former NSA contractor in June 2013, after he leaked a collection of mass surveillance documents which revealed to the public that the NSA was collecting the phone records of American citizens.

The complaint stated that Snowden is facing a charge of “theft of government property,” along with charges of “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” which were both brought under the Espionage Act of 1917.

However, Snowden is not facing charges of treason. Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution definestreason” as:

[pull_quote_center]Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.[/pull_quote_center]

The Washington Post noted that under this definition, the U.S. government would have to “demonstrate that Snowden was actively trying to provide aid and comfort to a specific entity, such as al-Qaeda, with which the U.S. is at war,” and it would have to find two witnesses who “observed Snowden leaking the information.” 

Despite the fact that Snowden is not facing treason charges, the remaining GOP candidates have openly called him a “traitor.”

During the GOP Debate hosted by Fox News Thursday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was asked why he did not immediately condemn Snowden when the documents were leaked in 2013.

You were open to the possibility that Edward Snowden had performed a considerable public service, you said back then, in revealing certain aspects of the NSA procedures,” Fox News host Bret Bair said. “Many of your colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Rubio, called him a traitor. It took you until January of this year to call him a traitor and say he should be tried for treason.Why the change of heart? And why did it take you so long?”

Cruz insisted that when the leaks were first reported, it was unclear whether Snowden had committed treason, and he said that since then it has become clear that Snowden’s leaks provided “aid and comfort to the enemies of America,” by making it “easier for terrorists to avoid detection.”

[pull_quote_center]When the news first broke of the United States government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it’s why the United States Congress acted to correct it. Now, at the same time, I said in that initial statement that if the evidence indicated that Edward Snowden violated the law, he should be prosecuted for violating the law. And, indeed, since then, the evidence is clear that not only does Snowden violate the law, but it appears he committed treason. Treason is defined under the Constitution as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America, and what Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection.[/pull_quote_center]

Business mogul Donald Trump chimed in and said Snowden was a “spy and we should get him back,” insisting that because Russia granted asylum to Snowden, it shows a lack of respect for the U.S. This follows previous comments in July 2013 when Trump called Snowden a “terrible traitor,” and alluded to the idea that he should be killed.

During a campaign forum in August 2015, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called Snowden a “traitor” for releasing classified information.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has called Snowden a “traitor” on multiple occasions, claiming in Nov. 2013 that the “intelligence programs” used by the NSA were necessary, and should not be deterred by the “conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden.” 

“We must respond to the valid concerns of Americans, who are alarmed by reports regarding their civil liberties,” Rubio said. “But we must also distinguish these reasonable concerns from conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden. This man is a traitor who has sought assistance and refuge from some of the world’s most notorious violators of liberty and human rights.”

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GOP Candidates Sell FBI’s Talking Points, Ignore Apple’s Concerns

The remaining five GOP presidential candidates participated in a debate hosted by CNN and Telemundo Thursday night, and they were questioned on their positions regarding the current conflict between Apple and the FBI.

Apple CEO Tim Cook brought the issue to light last week when he released a letter notifying customers that the FBI was ordering Apple to “build a backdoor” into the iPhone in order to retrieve information from the iPhone used by one of the suspects in the San Bernardino shooting.

While the FBI claimed the “backdoor” would only be used on the one iPhone in question, Cook raised several concerns, noting that the FBI’s request “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand” due to the fact that once “a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.” 

[RELATED: Apple Rejects Government Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]  

CNN host Wolf Blitzer brought up the topic during the debate, claiming that the FBI “wants Apple to unlock the phone used by that San Bernardino terrorist to prevent future attacks,” but that Apple has refused because “it would compromise the security of all of its customers.” 

Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, turned to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, noting that he initially said that “Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order.”

Rubio said that because the FBI made it “very clear” that the “only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer,” his position has changed, and he is now in favor of the FBI’s request.

[pull_quote_center]Apple initially came out saying, ‘We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.’ That is not accurate. The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was. And I think they should comply with that.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Facebook, Twitter Among Companies Supporting Apple in Fight Against FBI]

Bash then turned to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and she asked him if he agrees with Cook who said that creating a backdoor for the iPhone “would be bad for America.”

Cruz cited similar points to Rubio’s, claiming that the FBI is not looking for the “backdoor” Cook mentioned, but is instead looking into the phone of a single terrorist, and because of that he believes “Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation.”

[pull_quote_center]Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not to put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Bill Gates Sides with FBI, Downplays Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]

When asked the same question, neurosurgeon Ben Carson gave a similar response, claiming that he expects “Apple to comply with the court order,” and if the company doesn’t, he believes it would encourage “chaos in our system.”

[pull_quote_center]I think allowing terrorists to get away with things is bad for America. We have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. It guards us against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure. But we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. And that’s why we have FISA courts and things of that nature. [/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: FBI Ordered Password Reset on San Bernardino Shooting Suspect’s iPhone]

Ohio Gov. John Kasich asked to add his input on the topic, and he said he blames the public fight between Apple and the FBI on the Obama administration, claiming that if he were president, they would be solving problems “instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper.”

[pull_quote_center]The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans.[/pull_quote_center]

While business mogul Donald Trump was not asked about the issue during Thursday’s debate, he made his position clear last week during a campaign rally when he said Americans should boycott Apple until the company agrees to “give that information” to the FBI.

“Apple ought to give the security for that phone,” Trump said. “What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Why McAfee Says FBI Really Wants To End Encryption, Not Hack Just One iPhone]

During a recent Reality Check segment, Ben Swann interviewed John McAfee, a cybersecurity expert and the creator of McAfee security software, who offered to hack the San Bernardino shooting suspect’s phone for free.

McAfee said that if the FBI is being honest about their intentions to only retrieve information from the single phone, he and his team of hackers have offered to hack the suspect’s phone, and have said that they could do it in less than three weeks.

Reality Check: McAfee Claims FBI Wants To End All Encryption,…

Reality Check: McAfee Claims FBI Wants To End All Encryption, Not Just Hack One iPhone

Posted by Ben Swann on Tuesday, February 23, 2016


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Rubio Says He Opposes Prostitution But Would Not Support Federal Ban

2016 Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio took a states’ rights position on prostitution while campaigning on Monday in Nevada, where the world’s oldest profession is legal under state law.

I’m anti-prostitution,” Rubio told reporters according to The Wall Street Journal. However, he also clarified that he is against criminalizing prostitution at the federal level, “I’m not talking about federalizing that issue. I want to shrink the government, not grow it.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Should Rubio Be Fired For Terrible Voting Record?]

Suffice it to say, I wish Nevada would make it illegal, but that’s their decision to make. I don’t agree with it,” said Rubio.

He added, “I think you can be against something and still say, ‘I don’t want the federal government involved in federalizing something.’

According to The Associated Press, Rubio said that he believes that the sex work industry “victimizes the people who are participating in it.

CNN noted that when asked about the legal brothels in the state, Rubio replied, “We won’t be visiting them.

[RELATED: Rubio Accuses Cruz of Siding with ‘Isolationists’ on Foreign Policy]

Rubio said that having spent a portion of his childhood in Las Vegas, he was prepared for issue questions on prostitution. “I’ve thought about it at least once before,” he said. “The issue!” he clarified jokingly.

According to The Associated Press, Rubio took second place behind winner Donald Trump in the Nevada GOP caucus with 23.85 percent, sending 7 Rubio delegates to the Republican National Convention.

RealClearPolitics is reporting that Rubio is currently tied with Sen. Ted Cruz for second place in the delegate race for the GOP nomination with 17 delegates each. Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump currently stands in first place with 81 delegates. 2,742 delegates are up for grabs, and a candidate must obtain the support of 1,237 in order to clinch the nomination.

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GOP Nevada Caucus Results in Accusations of Polling Irregularities, Double Voting

GOP officials are reportedly looking into accusations of voting irregularities including ballot shortages and double voting, after reports of a chaotic scene unfolded during Tuesday’s Nevada Caucus.

RNC spokesman Fred Brown acknowledged that there were reports of “long lines and not enough ballots at Palo Verde High School” Tuesday night, which resulted in some voters being “turned away and directed to another location.”

In response to reports of double-voting, political reporter and commentator Jon Ralston reported that one GOP official said the party takes “reports of double voting very seriously and we will be reviewing ballots.”

[pull_quote_center]Obviously we take reports of double voting very seriously and we will be reviewing ballots. There is a master sign in and that we will be checking closely as well. In terms of running out of ballots, we were prepared for that, and more were on site in a matter or minutes. Other thing to know is because you have multiple precincts in one spot, not the entire place was in chaos, just a select few that were rushed, which contained the problems.[/pull_quote_center]

Business mogul Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Nevada Caucus, taking 45.9% of the vote.

In a rally prior to the caucus, Trump warned voters to watch out for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, claiming that he is the “single biggest liar” Trump has ever known.

“Watch out for dishonest stuff because I’ll tell you what, a lot of dishonesty with this,” Trump said. “You just gotta be careful. They have paper ballots. They have the whole deal going. So just watch out.”

Trump claimed Cruz is “the best I’ve ever seen” when it comes to lying, and then added, “Of course, really, the great liars are the ones that don’t get caught, right?”

However, many of the polling irregularities that were reported Tuesday night were in connection with Trump supporters.

Twitter user Josh Jordan posted a series of pictures of caucus-goers in Trump gear, claiming that ballots were “being tucked under envelopes,” and voters were “not being checked for ID.”

National Review reporter Elaina Plott posted on Twitter that one Nevada precinct did not have its site set up, while another precinct had “40-50 loose ballots on the table” that were put under envelopes.



Campus Reform correspondent and Marco Rubio supporter Letty Burgin posted on Twitter claiming that some of the poll workers at her precinct were wearing Trump pins and t-shirts.


According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, in the state of Nevada, electioneering activities including “wearing or displaying any badge, button or other insigne which is designed or tends to aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party or a candidate or ballot question to be voted upon at that election,” is prohibited.

In response to the accusations, the Nevada GOP claimed, “It’s not against the rules for volunteers to wear candidate gear.”
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Gov. Nikki Haley Endorses Marco Rubio for President Ahead of SC Primary

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced that she was endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president on Wednesday, as voters prepare for the state’s primary on Saturday.

Haley made the announcement during an event in Chapin, South Carolina, where she said that if Rubio is elected, “everyday will be a great day in America.”

“When it was time to look at this presidential race, I thought from a different perspective,” Haley said, noting the challenges the state has faced in the last year.

Haley said she wanted to endorse a president who “would have the back of our military veterans and those in active duty,” and who is “all about term limits in D.C.”

“I wanted somebody humble enough that remembers that you work for all of the people,” Haley said. “I wanted somebody who reminded my parents that the best decision you can make is coming to America.”

Rubio came in fifth place in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 with 10.6% of the vote, and third place in the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 1 with 23.1% of the vote.

While Haley did not announce who she was endorsing prior to Wednesday, she made it clear on Tuesday that she would not be endorsing business mogul Donald Trump, calling him “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.”

Haley also said she wants someone “who is going to hold Republicans accountable,” and “who is going to make a difference, not just for our party but for every person they represent in the country.”

The State noted that Haley endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race, and while he lost the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich, he went on to win the GOP nomination.

Rubio has also been endorsed by Republican politicians in South Carolina such as Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy.

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GOP Candidates Voice Support for Waterboarding, Increasing Guantanamo Detainees

Seven of the remaining GOP candidates participated in a debate hosted by ABC News in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, and when asked about waterboarding and other methods of torture used by the CIA, several candidates voiced their support.

The topic came up when moderator David Muir noted a comment Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made in Dec. 2014, when discussing the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the forms of torture used by the CIA on suspected terrorists after 9/11.

Muir noted that at the time Cruz said, “Torture is wrong, unambiguously, period. Civilized nations do not engage in torture,” and then Muir asked if Cruz would classify waterboarding as torture.

Cruz said that “under the definition of torture,” waterboarding would be classified as “enhanced interrogation,” due to the fact that it is not “excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and system.”

[pull_quote_center]Well, under the definition of torture, no, it’s not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.[/pull_quote_center]

When asked if he would bring back waterboarding as president, Cruz said he would not bring it back “in any sort of widespread use,” but that if it were necessary to “prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack,” he would “use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”

[pull_quote_center]I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed, I joined with Senator McCain in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels. But when it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander in chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe. And so, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.[/pull_quote_center]

Muir then turned to business mogul Donald Trump, who voiced his support for bringing back waterboarding in Nov. 2015 when he said, “I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us.”

Trump shared a similar sentiment at the debate and said he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” because in the Middle East, “we have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people.”

[pull_quote_center]We have things that we have never seen before— as a group, we have never seen before, what’s happening right now. The medieval times— I mean, we studied medieval times— not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.[/pull_quote_center]

While former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he wouldn’t bring waterboarding back, he also said he believes the United States needs to expand its “intelligence capabilities,” and he said he believes closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay would be a “complete disaster.”

[pull_quote_center]Congress has changed the laws, and I think where we stand is the appropriate place. But what we need to do is to make sure that we expand our intelligence capabilities. The idea that we’re going to solve this fight with predator drones, killing people somehow is more acceptable than capturing them, securing the information. This is why closing Guantanamo is a complete disaster.[/pull_quote_center]

When asked if he believes waterboarding is torture, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he that when people “talk about interrogating terrorists” they acts as if “this is some sort of law enforcement function,” when instead it is “anti-terrorism.”

[pull_quote_center]When people talk about interrogating terrorists, they’re acting like this is some sort of law enforcement function. Law enforcement is about gathering evidence to take someone to trial, and convict them. Anti-terrorism is about finding out information to prevent a future attack so the same tactics do not apply.[/pull_quote_center]

Rubio also said he believes they should not be discussing “in a widespread way the exact tactics that we’re going to use,” because that could allow “terrorist(s) to know to practice how to evade us,” and he went on to criticize the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

[pull_quote_center]Here’s the bigger problem with all this, we’re not interrogating anybody right now. Guantanamo’s being emptied by this president. We should be putting people into Guantanamo, not emptying it out, and we shouldn’t be releasing these killers who are rejoining the battlefield against the United States.[/pull_quote_center]

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Ben Swann Attacked by The New York Times for Pointing Out Rubio’s Voting Record

For many readers and supporters of Ben Swann’s Truth In Media Project, the fact that Swann asks tough questions and calls attention to issues and facts ignored by most of the mainstream media is nothing new. Over the past several years, Swann has developed a knack for delivering under-reported news that resonates with millions of individuals across the globe.

When reporting on any given topic, be it the drug war, mass shootings, politicians, terror attacks, police brutality, or our government’s foreign policy, Swann has never been one to gloss over these subjects or direct viewers and readers to reach any particular conclusion. This quickly becomes clear to most people who have watched Swann’s Truth In Media episodes examining a number of subjects including the origin of ISIS, medical cannabis, and police militarization. Swann’s Reality Check segments that have pointed out misleading statements as well as outright errors of GOP candidates, challenged common narratives about gun violence, and exposed questionable behavior at the CDC are not much different.

On Wednesday, a brief article, regarding a pro-Jeb Bush super PAC video ad which attacked Marco Rubio’s voting attendance record by using a portion of one of Swann’s Reality Check segments, was written in The New York Times by Maggie Haberman. The ad can be seen below:


The full version of the Reality Check segment, which the pro-Jeb Bush PAC Right to Rise pulled an excerpt from to use in its ad, is below.


However, the Times article did not focus on verifying the validity of Swann’s statements about Rubio’s voting attendance. The author instead chose to describe Swann as a “conspiracy-minded journalist” without delving into any examples of Swann’s so-called “focus on conspiracy theories.”

Haberman claims that Swann “examined questions about whether 7 World Trade Center could have collapsed as authorities said it did, and allegations that the gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings didn’t act alone.” This is absolutely true, and Swann has always stood by these examinations. However, the leap that Haberman made to then identify Swann as a “conspiracy-minded journalist” is a large one.

It’s also a leap that was already made by Salon in 2013 in an attempt to label Swann as a “truther-reporter” for his coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting. Salon’s allegations were rebuked by Mic a few days later. “It is quite obvious that Ben Swann is striking a nerve with the national media,” wrote Mic’s Christopher McDaniel. “His latest piece, via his web-based, ‘Full Disclosure’ series, does not allude to any of the shootings being a ‘false flag’ or a ‘hoax.’ However, it does what we the people should demand of journalists— it asks questions.”

Merely asking questions that the mainstream media has never touched upon does not make a journalist “conspiracy-minded.”

Nor does it make one a “truther,” as Marco Rubio’s camp claimed while accusing Right to Rise, the pro-Jeb Bush PAC behind the ad, of using a “noted 9/11, Boston Marathon Bombing, and Sandy Hook Truther as the mouthpiece for their false attacks.”

joe pounder, marco rubio, ben swann

The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out that Joe Pounder, an adviser for Marco Rubio, had once tweeted more favorably about Swann’s earlier work. “What was remarkable about Swann’s insta-infamy is that he had been reporting like this for years— and at least one of the people now ringing alarms about him had cited that reporting,” Weigel wrote. “After Swann saw his reputation battered on Twitter, he noticed that Pounder, in his old role at the oppo shop America Rising, had promoted his work at least twice. As a segment on Ohio’s Fox 19, ‘Reality Check’ seemed perfectly acceptable as a source.”

Pounder Ben Obama Interview

Pounder RC IRS tweet

Right to Rise spokesman Paul Lindsay said that “What matters are the facts in the ad, and there’s no conspiracy over the fact that Marco Rubio has missed more votes in the last three years than any other U.S. senator.”

In response to Haberman’s article, Swann pointed out that Haberman had not spoken with him at all, and reached out to him after the article had already been published. “It’s a shame the New York Times did not bother to contact me prior to publishing the article,” Swann said, “and that the Rubio campaign felt the need to attack me personally rather than address the Senator’s voting record, which any journalist can look up as part of the Congressional record.”

When Truth In Media reached out to Haberman to ask why she declined to address Swann’s reporting of Rubio’s voting record, she only stated that she had reached out to Swann and did not receive a reply.

The word “truther” is a slang term commonly used to describe an individual who rejects media narratives as a whole and touts ideas about false flag stories as fact. These words are simply inaccurate for a journalist who has the courage and tenacity to express refreshing skepticism about one piece of information, or happens to bring forth facts that presidential candidates don’t appreciate. The word “conspiracy,” once meant to describe harmful actions planned in secret, appears to have been used in this case in an attempt to ostracize Swann for being one of the last few journalists who takes this responsibility seriously.

GOP Debate: Rand Paul Warns of Consequences of Regime Change in Syria

The fifth GOP debate of the 2016 presidential election was hosted by CNN on Tuesday, and it highlighted the candidates’ positions on foreign policy, terrorism and national security.

When asked if he still believes the hawks in the GOP are responsible for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he thinks “if you believe in regime change, you’re mistaken.”

Paul said that after the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar “put 600 tons of weapons” into the war against Bashar al-Assad in Syria in 2013, it created a safe space. “We had people coming to our Foreign Relations Committee and saying, ‘Oh, we need to arm the allies of Al Qaeda,'” Paul said. “They are still saying this. It is a crazy notion.”

[pull_quote_center]This is the biggest debate we should be having tonight: Is regime change a good idea; has it been a good idea? There are still people—the majority on the stage—they want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge of Syria.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Truth In Media: the Origin of ISIS]

CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) to chime in on the subject, and while Rubio called for a broader coalition to strengthen the fight against ISIS, he also claimed Assad is one of the main reasons ISIS exists.

[pull_quote_center]Assad is one of the main reasons why ISIS even exists to begin with. Assad is a puppet of Iran. And he has been so brutal toward the Sunni within Syria that he created the space that led to the people of Syria themselves to stand up and try to overthrow him.[/pull_quote_center]

Rubio said the fact that President Obama “led from behind” meant that there were “no alternative groups left to fight ISIS,” and that “led to the chaos which allowed ISIS to come in and take advantage of that situation and grow more powerful.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof U.S. Government Wanted ISIS to Emerge in Syria]

When asked if he thought overthrowing Saddam Hussein was a good idea, Paul said although he thinks regime change is a bad idea, it doesn’t mean “Hussein was necessarily a good idea.”

[pull_quote_center]What we have to decide is whether or not regime change is a good idea. It’s what the neoconservatives have wanted. It’s what the vast majority of those on the stage want. They still want regime change. They want it in Syria. They wanted it in Iraq. They want it in Libya. It has not worked.[/pull_quote_center]

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Rand Paul Says Obama’s Foreign Policy Is ‘Idiotic’

Fresh off of a strong performance in this week’s Fox Business News / Wall Street Journal debate, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered some strong words aimed at President Obama’s foreign policy while addressing a crowd in Altoona, Iowa.

“What kind of idiot sends four people to war?” Paul asked supporters while referring to the $500 million Department of Defense program set up to train Syrian rebels. The Obama administration abandoned the program after only a small handful of trained rebels actually showed up to fight. In total, the Department of Defense spent $2 million for every one rebel trained.

“If you go to war, you don’t go with underwhelming force, you go to war with overwhelming force,” Paul said.

According to Huffington Post, Paul also criticized Obama’s move to deploy 50 special forces troops to Syria with Congress’ approval.

“If you want to send troops over there, we don’t send 50,” Paul said. “We have a declaration of war and we vote on it in Congress.”

Paul’s debate performance also bolstered his fundraising. According to the Des Moines Register, the moment Paul challenged U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on military spending, Paul’s fundraising went up 600 percent.

Nationally, Paul is tied for 6th place with Ohio Governor John Kasich and former HP executive Carly Fiorina. However, the most recent round of polling shows Paul steadily gaining some momentum. In Fox News’ latest poll, Paul was tied for 5th with Jeb Bush. A state-wide poll in Iowa mirrors those results with Paul tying Bush for 5th.

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LOTFI: Dear Neocons, Rand Paul Is Right On Military Spending

During the recent Fox Business News – Wall Street Journal Republican Primary debate, United States senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had what was probably one of the most meaningful exchanges so far in the race to decide the party’s nominee for president.

Paul and Rubio traded jabs over military spending, an issue that has divided many in the Republican party, and there’s little consensus on who won the exchange. That being said, the neoconservatives like Rubio are wrong when it comes to military spending and it’s time the Republican party, as a whole, realize it.

Let’s be clear about something. When Paul says you’re not a serious conservative if you’re willing to spend another $1 trillion, on loan from China, on the Department of Defense (DOD), he says so because the DOD is rife with fraud and waste.

For example, the DOD spent $2 million dollars for every one Syrian rebel they trained. Guess what? The majority of them never showed up to fight on our behalf after being trained. That’s right, $2 million to train one person that never showed up. The DOD also spent $43 million to build one single gas station in Afghanistan, which will never be used. If that wasn’t enough, Congress recently pushed $436 million on weapons that military experts explicitly said are not needed.

Yes, managing our military is one of the few roles the federal government performs today with actual constitutional authority to do so, but does that mean they should continue to receive blank checks?

The DOD clearly has money to flush down the toilet, and the American taxpayers are ultimately responsible for that money.

How is it that conservatives trust no wing of government to operate efficiently, but believe the DOD is infallible? If you’re serious about cutting the deficit and tackling our national debt, then understand this simple fact—government, by design, creates waste. The DOD isn’t exempt from this fact.

Neocons need to stop pretending defense spending is untouchable in order to pacify the multi-billion dollar defense contractors that lobby them for tax-dollars that are not needed to secure our well-being. Even the United States Army agrees.

You’re either serious and principled about cutting waste, or you’re not. And when you’re not, liberal Democrats then get to say, “Well, you spent money we didn’t have on this, so we want more welfare.” The same goes for the Constitution. When Republicans ignore the 4th Amendment and push the NSA, Democrats get to ignore the 10th Amendment and push the EPA. In Washington, I think they call this “bipartisanship.”

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GOP Candidates Condemn Mainstream Media, CNBC Moderators During Debate

During the third GOP presidential debate hosted by CNBC on Wednesday, candidates criticized both the moderators and the mainstream media as a whole.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) criticized the mainstream media when CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla noted an article from the Sun Sentinel that said “Rubio should resign, not rip us off.”

“When they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job- do you?” Quintanilla questioned.

“Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement,” Rubio replied. “It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.”

“Well, do you hate your job?” Quintanilla asked.

“Let me answer your question on the Sun Sentinel editorial today,” Rubio replied. “Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for president missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Should Marco Rubio Be Fired For Terrible Voting Record?]

Rubio also said while that in 2004, “John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes,” the Sun Sentinel didn’t call for his resignation, and instead it endorsed him. “In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again,” Rubio said. “So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement.

Later on in the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said that “the questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”

Cruz’s declaration was met with applause from the crowd in Boulder, Colorado, and he continued.

[pull_quote_center]This is not a cage match. You look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?[/pull_quote_center]

Quintanilla tried to interject, saying, “Do we get credit?” and Cruz continued to speak.

“Carl, I’m not finished yet,” Cruz said. “The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?”

[RELATED: How Would You Rate the CNBC Debate Moderators’ Performance?]

Cruz noted that “the questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive positions.”

When speaking to Donald Trump, CNBC’s Becky Quick said, “You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase the number of these H1Bs,” or non-immigrant visas in the U.S.

“I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all,” Trump replied. “In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country and they’re immediately sent out. I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.”

“So I have nothing at all critical of him,” Trump concluded.

“Where did I read this and come up with this that you were…” Quick said.

“Probably, I don’t know—you people write the stuff,” Trump replied. “I don’t know where you…”

Trump was cut off by a mixture of laughter and applause from the audience.

“Very good people are making very bad decisions right now,” Trump stated. “And if anything comes out of this whole thing with some of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I will tell you, you better get rid of the SuperPacs because they causing a big problem with this country, not only in dishonesty and what’s going on, but also in a lot of bad decisions that have been made for the benefit of lobbyists and special interests.”

Quick returned to Trump’s stance on Zuckerberg and H1Bs. “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio,” she said. “I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B.”

“I never said that. I never said that,” Trump replied.

When failing to find a citation to back up the comment, Quick said, “My apologies. I’m sorry.”

“Since I’ve been mentioned, can I respond?” Rubio interjected.

“Yes, you can,” Quick said.

Rubio replied, noting that despite rival Hillary Clinton’s revelations during last week’s hearing on the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, the mainstream media was “going around saying it was the greatest week” in Clinton’s campaign.

[pull_quote_center]I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It’s called the mainstream media…and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, ‘Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.’ She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.[/pull_quote_center]

For more election coverage, click here.

Cruz, Rubio Vote to Increase Debt By $400 Billion; Paul, Sanders Vote No

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2015– On Friday, the United States Senate failed to pass a short-term continuing resolution, which increased the federal deficit by $400 billion.

Of the four Republican Senators running for president, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only one to vote against it. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all voted in favor of the continuing resolution moving forward by ending cloture. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for President on the Democratic ticket as a socialist, also voted against the continuing resolution.

Paul says that although the bill defunded Planned Parenthood, he couldn’t vote for it due to the spending that was attached.

“Since coming to Washington, I have voted against every spending bill that continues to add to our nation’s mountain of debt. Spending at the levels in this bill will add $400 billion more new debt this year. Time and time again, the President and Congress fail to do one of their most basic jobs, which is to review and adjust federal spending and fund the government. While I support all efforts to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, this bill is a clear representation of business as usual in Washington – too much spending and too much debt. The American people deserve better,” Paul said in a statement released after the vote.

[RELATED: Petition: A Joint Town Hall with Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders]

Paul’s foes were quick to paint him as a Planned Parenthood supporter for voting against the massive spending bill. However, Paul has made several attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. In fact, he even attempted to fast-track the legislation in July.

For more election coverage, click here.

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Report Challenges Immigration Complaints Expressed By GOP Candidates

While some GOP candidates have made statements pertaining to immigrants learning English and committing crimes in the United States, and have used them as talking points, a recent report suggests that immigrants are succeeding in learning English and are, on average, less likely to commit a violent crime than the average American.

A 443-page report, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on Monday, studied “The Integration of Immigrants into American Society” and looked at how immigrants assimilate into American culture by learning English, adopting similar values and achieving certain socioeconomic outcomes.

The report compiled data from 41 million foreign-born immigrants in the United States, 11.3 million or over 25 percent of which are undocumented.

Several of the GOP candidates have made statements concerning the use of English as the official language of the United States, and have suggested that immigrants should speak English exclusively.

Carly Fiorina told CNN that “English is the official language of the United States.” HoweverThink Progress noted that the United States does not have an official language, but that “many states have already passed or are trying to pass legislation to make their official state language English.”

Candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have also expressed their belief of the importance of immigrants learning and speaking English.

During the second GOP debate, hosted by CNN last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that while he wouldn’t deport millions of undocumented individuals in the same way that candidates such as Donald Trump have called for, he does think they should learn to speak English.

“They can come here, but they should learn to speak our language,” Graham said. “I don’t speak it very well, but look how far I’ve come.”

The report states that “there is evidence that integration is happening as rapidly or faster now than it did for the earlier waves of mainly European immigrants in the 20th century.” This knowledge is influenced by the fact that many of the immigrants have taken English classes in their native countries or have been exposed to English media.

[pull_quote_center]Today, many immigrants arrive already speaking English as a first or second language. Currently, about 50 percent of the foreign-born in surveys report they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well,’ while less than 10 percent say they speak English ‘not at all.’ [/pull_quote_center]

The stereotype of immigrants as violent criminals has been used by GOP candidate Donald Trump, who kicked off his presidential campaign with choice words on immigration.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In contrast to Trump’s statements, the report claimed that “increased prevalence of immigrants is associated with lower crime rates,” and that “among men age 18-39, the foreign-born are incarcerated at a rate that is one-fourth the rate for the native-born.”

[pull_quote_center]Cities and neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have much lower rates of crime and violence than comparable nonimmigrant neighborhoods. This phenomenon is reflected not only across space but also over time.[/pull_quote_center]

The report noted that there is also evidence that crime rates for the second and third generations from immigrant families “rise to more closely match the general population of native-born Americans.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose parents are Indian immigrants, used the idea of a lack of immigrant assimilation to criticize the presence of “hyphenated Americans,” using the phrase “immigration without assimilation is invasion.”

“We need to insist people that want to come to our country should come legally, should learn English and adopt our values, roll up their sleeves, and get to work,” Jindal said.

According to the report, current immigrants and their descendants are integrating into U.S. society, and they have found that the outcomes of “educational attainment, occupational distribution, income, residential integration, language ability, and living above the poverty line,” increase when they “become more similar to the native-born and improve their situation over time.”

[pull_quote_center]Across all measurable outcomes, integration increases over time, with immigrants becoming more like the native-born with more time in the country, and with the second and third generations becoming more like other native-born Americans than their parents were.[/pull_quote_center]

For more election coverage, click here.

Fox News Announces Candidate Lineup for Aug. 6 GOP Presidential Debate

Fox News has announced the candidates who qualified for its August 6 prime-time Republican presidential primary debate, which is set to kick off at 9 p.m. EST at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Anchors Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly will moderate the televised event. Facebook and the Ohio Republican Party have been tapped as sponsors.

Candidates set to participate in the prime-time debate include billionaire Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Fox News chose to limit its prime-time debate to only 10 participants and selected qualified candidates based on a top 10 average of 5 recent polls by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Quinnipiac University, and Monmouth University.

However, in response to complaints that serious candidates with low poll numbers are being left out of the top-tier debate, the news network has invited those who did not qualify to appear in a 60-minute junior varsity debate, moderated by Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum, which will appear on Fox News at 5 p.m. on August 6, prior to the prime-time contest. Those who fell short of the top 10 include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The network’s prime-time debate pre-show coverage will begin immediately after the junior varsity debate.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry responded optimistically to his failure to qualify for the prime-time contest and tweeted, “I look forward to being @FoxNews 5pm debate for what will be a serious exchange of ideas & positive solutions to get America back on track.

However, according to CNN, Matt Beynon, a spokesperson for former Sen. Rick Santorum, called the candidate selection process “incredibly flawed” and said, “While FOX is taking a lot of heat, the [Republican National Committee] deserves as much blame for sanctioning this process. They should not be picking winners and losers. That’s the job of the voters, particularly those in Iowa and New Hampshire who have the role of voting first.

Following Fox News’ announcement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “Our field is the biggest and most diverse of any party in history and I am glad to see that every one of those extremely qualified candidates will have the opportunity to participate on Thursday evening. Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich almost fell short of being chosen for the prime-time debate, which is taking place in his home state. However, his 3% polling average, tying him with Chris Christie for last place among those participating, was just enough to qualify.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

14 GOP Presidential Hopefuls to Face Off in Aug. 3 Forum on C-SPAN, Trump Not Attending

The New Hampshire Union Leader has launched a C-SPAN-televised August 3 forum for 2016 Republican presidential candidates, and 14 candidates have confirmed their participation. The question-and-answer style event, which is not an official Republican National Committee-sanctioned presidential debate, will take place at the Dana Center at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. at 7 p.m. EST and is scheduled to run for two hours.

The Voters First Republican Presidential Forum was launched by the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to a rising chorus of complaints over Fox News’ decision to exclude candidates with low poll numbers from its August 6 prime time debate at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Fox has said it will serve as the first primary and ‘winnow’ the field on Aug. 6. We and our partners think the voters of our states should continue to play that role. Our forum will give voters a chance to see the larger field of candidates and will give the voters a chance to have their issues addressed,” said New Hampshire Union Leader publisher Joseph W. McQuaid.

[RELATED: Fox News Moves Second-Tier GOP Presidential Debate to More Visible Time Slot]

The New Hampshire forum is currently set to feature all of the currently-announced prominent Republican candidates save for two, Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee’s absence from the list of participating candidates was not explained by the Union Leader, so it could be possible that he will confirm his participation at a later time. Candidates set to participate include Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and George Pataki.

According to the Union Leader, “Candidate Trump bowed out because, an aide said, he was upset with a Union Leader editorial this week that mocked him for saying that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero. McCain, shot down by the North Vietnamese, suffered years of torture after refusing to be released early because his father was an admiral.

Last Tuesday, billionaire Donald Trump reportedly wrote a letter to McQuaid explaining his refusal to participate, which read, “…knowing you as I do, I feel it is unlikely I will be getting the endorsement from you and the Union Leader. I have made a great fortune based on instinct and that, unfortunately, is my view. Therefore, and for other reasons including the fact that I feel there are too many people onstage to have a proper forum, I will not be attending.

The forum will be moderated by WGIR radio personality Jack Heath. According to the Union Leader, “The Voters First Forum is being co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier, and the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette. Broadcast co-sponsors are iHeart radio, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids; and WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C. The forum will be broadcast nationally by C-SPAN. New England viewers will be able to watch on NECN. It will be broadcast locally by NH1/WBIN-TV in New Hampshire, as well as by the South Carolina and Iowa stations. It will also air live on NHPR.

Event organizers are asking the public to submit suggestions of issues to discuss at the forum.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

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Fact Check: Marco Rubio Lies About Mexico Trade Deficit

Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) was asked about his deciding vote to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “Fast-Track Authority”, to negotiate the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP, or ObamaTrade).

It’s apparent that Rubio is a big fan of ObamaTrade.

As seen in an exclusive video below, Evan Mulch asked Rubio, “if the TPP was truly about free trade and lowering tariffs, then why wouldn’t it be a one page document? Why is the TPP hundreds of pages long?”

“Wouldn’t it be in our best effort to repeal the North American Free Trade agreement (NAFTA), because NAFTA basically sent the manufacturing jobs to Mexico from the U.S.?” Mulch continued.

Rubio responded by defending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) like NAFTA and said, “No, we have a trade surplus with virtually every country in the world that we have free trade with.”

Joshua Cook asked Curtis Ellis, who is an expert on TPP, what he thought about Rubio’s comment regard the U.S. having a trade surplus.

“It’s not true. It’s not right,” said Ellis. “The guy is either ignorant or he’s lying. This is a talking point put out by apologists for these free trade agreements.”

[See imports vs. exports 2015 : U.S. trade in goods with Mexico can be seen here. A very clear example is with South Korea.]

“He is repeating talking points given to him by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is knowingly trying to mislead us,” says Ellis.

For many, NAFTA has become a cautionary tale that warns people that these big treaties ultimately harm the U.S. economy.

According to New American Magazine:

“In 1993, the year before NAFTA went into effect, the United States had a $1.66 billion trade surplus with Mexico; by 1995, the first year after NAFTA had entered into force, that changed to a $15.8 billion deficit. By 2000, that annual deficit had soared to $24.5 billion, and by 2007 it hit $74.7 billion. For 2014, our trade deficit with Mexico dipped to only $53.8 billion. In 1993, the year before NAFTA, we imported around 225,000 cars and trucks from Mexico. By 2005, our imports of Mexican-made vehicles had tripled to 700,000 vehicles annually, and in 2012, Mexico’s export of vehicles to the United States surpassed 1.4 million. Chrysler, Ford, and GM transferred major production facilities (and jobs) from the United States to Mexico. Our trade deficits with Canada have followed a similar path since adoption of NAFTA.”

Many have attributed massive trade deficits, joblessness through outsourcing, and a decreased standard of American living to NAFTA and other corporate-led trade deals.

It is important to note that opposing these big “trade deals” is not protectionism. Ron Paul made it clear on why he opposed NAFTA, stating that what most politicians are promoting is “managed trade” not “free trade.”

Follow Joshua Cook: | Facebook | Twitter | Joshua@TruthInMedia.com

Poll: Hillary Clinton Falls Behind Republicans In Three Swing States

According to a recent poll, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has fallen behind Republican candidates such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the key swing states of Iowa, Colorado and Virginia.

The results of a Quinnipiac University Poll released on Wednesday, noted that Clinton received negative favorability ratings in each of the three swing states polled, with “35 – 56 percent in Colorado, 33 – 56 percent in Iowa, and 41 – 50 percent in Virginia.”

The poll surveyed 1,231 voters in Colorado, 1,236 voters in Iowa, and 1,209 voters in Virginia, from July 9-20 via interviews on landlines and cell phones.

The poll also found that in several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, fellow Democratic contender and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker,” and that Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced whether he is running for President in 2016, “does better than Clinton on honesty and on caring about voter needs.”

The National Journal reported that Clinton “lost all three against the president during the 2008 primary season,” and that since February “she’s lost steam in each state against three top potential Republican opponents.”

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, noted that Clinton has “lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership.”

“On being a strong leader, a key metric in presidential campaigns, [Clinton] has dropped four to 10 points depending on the state and she is barely above 50 percent in each of the three states,” said Brown, who added that against Republican contenders such as Bush, Rubio and Walker, Clinton “trails in six matchups and is on the down side of too-close-to call in three.”

Brown added that the recent poll is being compared to a Quinnipiac University from April 9, when Clinton was “clearly ahead in five of the matchups and too-close-to-call in the other four.”

According to the poll, Rubio and Walker have a lead of eight percentage points over Clinton in Iowa, Walker has a lead of nine percentage points in Colorado, and Bush and Walker have a lead of three percentage points in Virginia.

The poll found that in Colorado, 62 percent of voters say Clinton is “not honest and trustworthy,” 52 percent say she has “strong leadership qualities” and 57 percent say that she “does not care about their needs and problems.” Similar results were found on all three categories in both Iowa and Virginia.

For more news related to the 2016 Presidential election, click here.

Poll: Rand Paul Leads Hillary Clinton in Key Swing State of Ohio

The outcomes of votes in swing states like Ohio, where no party enjoys a clear advantage in obtaining electoral college votes, often decide presidential elections. High general election polling numbers in these battleground states are often cited as evidence of a candidate’s electability.

A new Public Policy Polling presidential preference survey of 859 Ohio voters, taken between June 4 and June 7, found that Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich enjoys home-field advantage in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. However, it also found that, in theoretical 2016 general election match-ups, Governor Kasich leads Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton 47 to 40 and US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) leads Clinton 44 to 41.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tied Clinton 44-44 in the poll. “[Clinton] has small advantages over the rest of the GOP field- it’s 44/43 over Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker, 45/43 over Jeb Bush, 44/41 over Chris Christie, and 45/42 over Mike Huckabee,” read a summary of the poll by Public Policy Polling.

The poll also found that Clinton dramatically leads in the 2016 Democratic primary, “On the Democratic side Clinton still dominates the field with 61% of the primary vote, followed by Bernie Sanders at 13%, Michael Bloomberg at 7%, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley at 2%, and Jim Webb at 1%. 13% of Democratic voters are still undecided.

Governor Kasich’s home field advantage and high approval numbers put him on top of the Republican primary portion of the poll. Public Policy Polling’s summary notes, “Kasich polls at 19% to 13% for Ben Carson and Scott Walker, 12% for Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, 9% for Rand Paul, 6% for Mike Huckabee, 5% for Ted Cruz, and 4% for Chris Christie.”

Marco Rubio leads the GOP side in favorability, whereas the poll found that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is “outwardly disliked by GOP voters” in the state.

According to The Washington Post, Ohio Governor Kasich, who has not yet announced a 2016 presidential bid, is considering doing so and is likely to launch his campaign “sometime after June 30.

Senator Rand Paul’s team touted the poll’s results as another win for his campaign. “This poll, like others, shows that Sen. Rand Paul is the best Republican to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Ohio is one of the most important swing states in the pathway to the White House, and no Republican has won it since 2004. In the primary, Sen. Paul is tied for first nationally and in New Hampshire and he is tied for second in Iowa. In the general election, he is leading the field against Hillary Clinton and ahead of her in Ohio and other key states including Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania,” said Paul campaign spokesman Sergio Gor according to the Washington Examiner.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Following Jeb Bush’s Lead, Marco Rubio Flip Flops on Iraq

Last week, presumed 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush first stated that he would have invaded Iraq back in 2003 but later clarified his position, saying that he meant that he would have done so based on the false intelligence presented at the time but would not have carried out the invasion based on what he knows now.

In the above-embedded video clip of an interview on Fox News Sunday with 2016 presidential contender and US Senator Marco Rubio, Chris Wallace played a March 30 clip from The Five in which Rubio said that the world was a better place without Saddam Hussein in response to a question about whether the Iraq War was a mistake. Wallace then played a second clip from earlier this month when Rubio said during an interview with Charlie Rose that he would not have supported the invasion of Iraq had he known that Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

“Isn’t that a flip?” said Chris Wallace.

Rubio defended his positions using the same line of reasoning that put Bush on the defensive last week — that he was responding to “two different questions.” Rubio said that, because The Five guest host Julie Roginsky had asked him whether he felt that the invasion was a mistake, he was answering the question on the basis of what President George W. Bush would have known at the time. “No, it was not the same question. The question was whether it was a mistake, and my answer was it was not a mistake. I still say it was not a mistake… The president can’t make a decision based on what someone might know in the future… It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.”

However, Rubio’s response to the March 30 question argued that the “world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn’t run Iraq” and that failing to invade Iraq might have led to a nuclear arms race between Iran and Iraq, commenting specifically on the matter in hindsight. Roginsky’s original question had asked whether the invasion of Iraq was a mistake given the fact that it seems to have empowered Iran as a regional superpower.

For more election coverage, click here.

Rubio: We Can’t Write ‘Greatest Chapter’ By ‘Going Back To Leaders, Ideas Of The Past’

By Al Weaver

During his campaign announcement speech, Sen. Marco Rubio remarked that Americans cannot look to “leaders and ideas of the past” to “author the greatest chapter yet” in American history. The comment takes aim at potential primary and general election challengers Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

RUBIO: Now, just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday.

Yesterday is over, and we are never going back. We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future. Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America. But we can’t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.