As noted yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has ruffled some feathers inside the Republican Party due to the strong stand that he took with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) against President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals.
The trio had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promising to filibuster any new gun control measures. While it started with just the three of them, the signatories to the letter eventually grew to 16.
During a FreedomWorks seminar last week, Cruz noted that he was yelled at by some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate because they looked like a “bunch of squishes” to constituents back home because they hadn’t yet signed onto the letter. Cruz told them that they had an alternative, in that they could vote to filibuster and “not be a bunch of squishes.”
Cruz’s remarks haven’t sat well with some Republican bloggers, including Jennifer Rubin, who writes the “Right Turn” blog at the Washington Post.
In a post yesterday, Rubin, whose credibility has come into question after she proved herself to be a hack for Mitt Romney, slammed Cruz, essentially calling him a “jerk” for giving this story in public.
With less than a week to go until voters in South Carolina’s First Congressional District head to the polls, Mark Sanford is getting some much needed last-minute help. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has gained notoriety and popularity among Republicans, and FreedomWorks PAC, a grassroots organization known for backing fiscally conservative candidates in primary races, both endorsed Sanford on Tuesday.
“More than anything, Washington needs strong and consistent voices for fiscal responsibility and liberty,” said Paul in the press release sent out by Sanford’s campaign. “Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities.
“What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt,” he added. “I am pleased to endorse Mark and stand with him in this race.”
Paul is following in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who endorsed Sanford on Thursday.
FreedomWorks PAC noted only endorsed Sanford, but is also planning a voter outreach effort in the district this weekend.
The media still seems shocked that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was elected last year with substantial Tea Party and grassroots support, is taking on the political establishment, even if it includes members of his own party.
Back in February, Cruz defended his style after many Senate Democrats criticized him. “I have to admit I find it amusing that those in Washington are puzzled when someone actually does what they said they would do,” Cruz told Reuters during a visit to a Texas-based gun manufacturer. He also gained some coverage over his questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was pushing the Assault Weapons Ban. And though he did cross a line during the confirmation hearing of then-Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, Cruz has been generally spot thus far.
But Cruz has raised eyebrows once again. During a surprise talk last week at the FreedomWorks summit in Texas, the freshman Senator explained that the grassroots activists are winning and criticzed “squishes” inside the Republican Party, pointing to the gun control issue as an example.
There is still a long way to go before the 2016 presidential election, but Public Policy Polling has a new survey of New Hampshire that gives Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) some very early bragging rights. According to the survey, the Paul leads Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and the rest of the field in what has been a tone-setting state:
PPP’s new poll of New Hampshire Republicans about 2016 finds momentum on Rand Paul’s side. He leads the potential field with 28% to 25% for Marco Rubio, 14% for Chris Christie, 7% for Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, 4% for Rick Santorum, 3% for Susana Martinez, and 1% each for Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.
Paul has seen a huge increase in his support from when PPP last looked at New Hampshire in November, from 4% then to his current 28% standing. Also on the rise is Rubio who’s gone up 11 points from 14% to 25%. On the down swing are Christie who’s dropped 7 points from 21% and the lead then to 14% and 3rd place now, Bush who’s dropped 4 points from 11% to 7%, and Ryan who’s dropped 3 points from 10% to 7%.
Public Policy Polling notes that Paul’s advantage is coming from independent voters, which shows some appeal to voters outside the party, though he trails Rubio with registered Republicans. However, the bad news is that both Paul and Rubio trail Hillary Clinton, who is strongly favored by Democrats in New Hampshire, by 52/41 and 52/38, respectively.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a hot commodity right now in the conservative movement. With his focus on free markets, constitutional foreign policy, and the protection of civil liberty, Paul stands out among potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders. He certainly has a long path to take to the nomination, but the seeds for such an effort have clearly been laid over the past several months.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal noted how Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster last month against CIA nominee John Brennan, is trying to turn the noterity and conversation he’s started into a national movement. The significant platform that he’s been building is one that could propel him to forefront of the Republican Party, shatter conventional wisdom about conservatives in the mainstream media, and attract new voters.
But not everyone is a fan of the role Paul has played recently. In the same Wall Street Journal article, Rick Santorum, a former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and a 2012 presidential candidate, lashed out at Paul and his views:
“Rand Paul’s brand doesn’t line up with all of what our party stands for—on national security, social values, the economy and the role of government in society,” said former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. “His message won’t ultimately lead us to be a more successful party.”
Last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made an impressive, 13-hour stand against the Obama Administration’s domestic drones policy. The Department of Justice had made a tepid legal case for drone strikes against American citizens who are merely suspected of being a terrorist. Attorney General Eric Holder later said that a president could conduct drone strikes on American citizens suspected of terrorist activities inside the United States.
Paul objected to the notion. “I rise today for the principle,” Paul said during the filibuster. “The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted.”
Holder eventually relented his comments, acknowledging that a president doesn’t have the authority to kill an American citizen on American soil, and the coverage of the filibuster boosted Paul’s profile and added to the speculation that he would seek the Republican nomination in 2016. He would go on to win the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll just days after giving a dynamic speech in which he essentially laid out a platform for the future of the Republican Party.
Before passing its first budget in nearly four years, the Senate overwhelmingly approved an amendment that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers that don’t have a physical presence within their borders. With the negotiators unlikely to resolve the differences between their respective budgets, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to bring up the online sales tax bill — the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” — once again, perhaps as early as today:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to move an online sales tax bill directly to the Senate floor, skipping the committee process.
He filed a motion on Tuesday night to begin the process of putting the bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act, on the Senate calendar. The bill could come up for a vote as early as next week.
Under current law, states can only collect sales taxes from retailers that have a physical presence in their state. People who order items online from another state are supposed to declare the purchases on their tax forms, but few do.
The Marketplace Fairness Act would empower states to tax online purchases but would exempt small businesses that earn less than $1 million annually from out-of-state sales.
It’s long been thought that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would be able to withstand any sort of potential primary from a conservative challenger. But looks like that narrative could begin to shift as a new poll from Winthrop University shows Graham’s approval rating down significantly among Republicans in the state in just two months.
“U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is up for re-election in 2014, received a 44 percent approval rating among S.C. registered voters but his approval rating has dropped from 71.6 percent to 57.5 percent among Republicans and those independents who lean toward the GOP compared to the February poll,” noted the statement from Winthrop, which was made available by FITSNews. “This drop corresponds to the entry of two vocal challengers, and discussion of a third, into the primary race against him.”
This isn’t exactly a surprise since he’s made some high-profile speeches and interviews over the last several months and engaged in a well-covered 13-hour filibuster last month that was the talk of Washington, DC, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed what most of us already knew — that he is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016:
Tea Party favorite and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he is strongly considering a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, announcing plans to travel to at least three key primary states this summer.
“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Paul, heir to his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian voting and fundraising base, said that he is already planning to visit three early primary states this summer — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Paul said he “will continue to travel to the early primary states.”
It’ll be nearly three years before Republicans begin to head to the polls to choose their presidential nominee, but they jockeying for position is well under way. Both Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), both of whom are thought to be among the Republicans who will seek the nomination, have been making high-profile speeches and legislative proposals over the first four months of the year.
But according to a new poll, voters have a more favorable opinion of Paul, who has carried the Tea Party banner in the Senate, than they do Rubio, who has been dubbed by Time as the “Republican savior”:
According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Paul, who was elected with strong tea party support in Kentucky, comes in at 53% among Republicans, and 32% among independents.
Rubio’s favorable rating among Republicans, meanwhile, is 48%. Among independents, the Florida senator is at 27%.
The numbers fall mostly in line with a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month, when 53% of Republicans had a positive opinion of Paul, though slightly more–54%–felt the same about Rubio at the time.
And while Rubio was a top surrogate for GOP nominee Mitt Romney and a contender to be his running mate, Paul still has higher ratings among Romney voters than Rubio, 62%-56%, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.