Hillary Clinton

Ted Cruz leads 2016 Republican field in Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leads the field of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates in Texas, according to a new poll out of the state from Public Policy Polling.

Though 2016 is a long way off, many polling firms are already gaging the Republican base in primary states to get an idea of which way the wind is blowing in what is sure to be a hotly contested race.

“Senator Ted Cruz is the preferred choice for Republicans in his home state, taking in 27% of the primary vote,” noted Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based firm. “Jeb Bush finished second with 15%, and Chris Christie and Rand Paul both finished with 11%. Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations appear to be dead in the Lone Star State, as only 18% of Texas Republicans wish for him to run.”

Ever potential Republican presidential candidate polled, with the exception of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), leads Hillary Clinton, who is viewed as the Democratic Party’s frontrunning in 2016. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) holds a 47/38 lead over Clinton. Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) leads Clinton by a slim margin, 46/43. Cruz holds a 5-point lead, at a 49/44, over Clinton.

The poll also found Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) holding positive favorability ratings, but both are under 50%. “Though both Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are barely eking out net favorable ratings (36/33 for Cornyn and 42/36 for Cruz), Democratic bids for the Senate would still be major long shots,” explained the firm. “Cornyn holds at least a 7% lead over all potential 2014 challengers, including former Houston Mayor Bill White (47/40), State Senator Wendy Davis (48/40), Mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro (50/37), and Mayor of Houston Annise Parker (49/36).”

KY Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to Challenge Senator Mitch McConnell

McConnellGrimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 34-year-old Secretary of State of State in Kentucky, announced her intention to challenge Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014.

“I have met with supporters, we had a great conversation,” Grime said at a news conference in Frankfort, Ky.. “We can next make the best move, the best difference by running for the U.S. Senate.”

Grimes, a Democrat elected in 2012, lacks the national recognition that McConnell has, but has the support of many high level Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton. Clinton is a long-time family  friend of Grimes’ father, and reportedly told Grimes’ that he and Hillary would support her campaign against McConnell.

McConnell immediately issued a response to the Secretary’s announcement: “Accepting the invitation from countless Washington liberals to become President Obama’s Kentucky candidate was a courageous decision by Alison Lundergan Grimes and I look forward to a respectful exchange of ideas,” he said. “The next sixteen months will provide a great opportunity for Kentuckians to contrast a liberal agenda that promotes a war on coal families and government rationed health care with someone who works everyday to protect Kentuckians from those bad ideas.”

Polling in late May indicated that Senator McConnell was tied with Grimes’ in a hypothetical race.

Obama’s approval rating plummets in Ohio, majority says he’s dishonest

Obama in Ohio

While they gave him a close win in the state just last year, Ohio voters have quickly soured on President Barack Obama and in a big way, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, showed that President Obama’s approval rating stands at only 40%, while 57% of Buckeye state voters disapproval of the president’s job performance. That’s his lowest approval rating ever in the state. When Quinnipiac polled Ohio in December, just after he won re-election, Obama’s approval rating stood at 54/42.

Republicans overwhelming disapprove (9/91) of President Obama’s job performance. Democrats overwhelmingly approve (82/14). That’s not necessarily unsurprising. But the telling number is from independent voters. The poll shows only 34% of independents approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 64% disapprove.

When asked whether they find President Obama to be “honest and trustworthy,” only 44% of voters replied in the affirmative, while 52% rejected that notion. That reflects a national trend in the wake of the various scandals that have come out of the Obama Administration.

“President Obama’s fortunes in the Buckeye State have turned. Since last December he has lost 10 points among Democrats and 17 points among independent voters,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac, in the release accompanying the poll. “He has gone from a 20-point approval margin among women to a 9-point disapproval margin among female voters.”

Rand Paul to Seek Re-Election to the Senate

It’s no secret that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is considering at a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He’s been making the rounds in early primary states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. But the Kentucky Republican made it clear over the weekend that his only concrete plan for 2016 is his re-election to the Senate:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Friday that he would seek reelection in 2016, even as he’s widely seen as having interest in a presidential run that year.

Paul informed reporters of his decision before a local GOP dinner, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The first-term senator did not rule out a presidential bid in 2016, but said that, for now, he is only certain about running for another Senate term.

“For now, we know for sure is we’re going to run for the U.S. Senate,” Paul said at the Woodford County, Ky., Republican Party Reagan Dinner, according to The Daily Independent in Ashland, Ky. “The other decision can come later.”

This has been the source of some speculation. Kentucky election law would prevent Paul from running for both the Senate and President at the same time, though The Hill notes that lawmakers in the Commonwealth may consider changing that statue. Paul filed for re-election to the Senate in April 2011, though that was seen as a move to play down speculation that he would run for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Plenty of Spin from White House on Benghazi, No Real Answers

Heritage Benghazi video

While the scandals that have emerged out of the IRS and the Justice Department have taken center stage over the last two weeks, the Obama Administraton’s refusal to come clean about Benghazi still remains very much an issue.

The Heritage Foundation offered a new video this week that highlighted how President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials tried to spin the incident at the American outpost in Benghazi as a protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video gone awry.

After it was revealed that it was in fact a pre-planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda, during which four Americans were killed, the White House and Obama Administration tried to shift away from their initial talking points. Americans have since discovered that there was political influence within the administration to avoid discussion of terrorism. While President Obama has labeled questions on the early narrative as a “side show, Heritage notes that each new answer has brought new questions.

Check the video out below:

Obama Administration’s Deception on Benghazi Deserves Criticism

During a press conference yesterday, President Barack Obama slammed Republicans who are focusing on the talking points that his administration used to try to set the narrative after the terrorist attack on the American outpost in Benghazi:

Repeated GOP attacks claiming the White House covered up the truth about the September attack in Benghazi, Libya, are nothing more than a politically motivated “side-show,” President Obama said Monday.

“The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a side-show,” Obama said during a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “The fact that this keeps getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.”
[…]
“We don’t have time to be playing these kinds of political games here in Washington. We should be focused on what are we doing to protect them,” Obama said. “We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus.”

The Obama administration initially claimed the Benghazi attack, ending with the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was the result of an anti-U.S. protest gone wrong.

The claim come just days after State Department whistleblowers testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Gregory Hicks, who served as the top diplomat in Libya after the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, explained that it was clear from the very beginning that the incident was a terrorist attack.

White House Defends the Indefensible Post-Benghazi Narrative

What we now know about the post-Benghazi narrative that the Obama Administration tried to create is nothing short of stunning. On Friday, ABC News reported that the talking points produced by the CIA underwent 12 different revisions with significant input coming from the State Department, which was run by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.  The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.
[…]
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?  Concerned …”

The paragraph was entirely deleted.

Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIA’s first drafts said the attack appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” but the CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”  The draft went on to specifically name  the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.

Boehner Wants Cooperation from White House on Benghazi

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) didn’t mince any words for the White House during a press conference yesterday — he wants the White House to cooperate with investigators by turning over e-mails relating to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

House Speaker John Boehner is demanding that the White House release a series of unclassified emails related to the Sept. 11 fatal terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Boehner is seeking emails Republican lawmakers say were sent the day after the attack from a senior state department official to her superiors in which she reported that she told the Libyan ambassador that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack.

“The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed,” Boehner said. “I would call on the President to order the State Department to release this email so the American people can see it.”
[…]
The letters Boehner is seeking would show the State Department was aware it was a terrorist attack well before Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on a round of Sunday talk shows to push the YouTube video as the cause.

His demand comes a day after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on startling revelations brought forward by State Department whistleblowers that shined light on the events that led up to, during, and after the attack.

Benghazi Hearing Offers Clearer Picture of Attack, Misleading Narrative

Benghazi Whistleblowers

In what was a highly anticipated hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hosted three whistleblowers — Gregory Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, and Mark Thompson. The three State Department staffers have come forward with a clearer picture of what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack that took place last September at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which claimed the lives of four Americans.

The three biggest allegations on which Republicans on the committee focused was the State Department’s involvement in the initial talking points that removed references to terrorism, the role those talking points played in preventing the FBI from getting to the consulate to investigate the attack, and a “stand down” order given that kept military assets from responding in its aftermath.

Hicks, who made the most damaging allegations and was the primary focus of the questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee, offered a detailed description of the attack:

In his first full public accounting, Gregory Hicks, a Foreign Service officer and ex-deputy chief of mission in Libya, recounted in vivid detail what happened the night of the attacks. Republicans insist that the Obama administration and the State Department didn’t do nearly enough to aid U.S. personnel under attack in September 2012.

Hillary Clinton Owes Americans Answers on Benghazi

As the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee begins its hearings on the latest Benghazi revelations, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is receiving well-deserved criticism over the role she may have played in what increasingly appears to be a cover-up.

During a hearing earlier this year, Clinton, who is seen as the early frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, erupted at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) over his questions about the State Department’s post-attack talking points. The State Department had originally claimed that the incident at the American consulate was a protest in response to anti-Muslim video that had been posted on YouTube. It was revealed a few days later that it was a terrorist attack.

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton said angrily at Johnson. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

“It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator,” she added.


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