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Kaine tells Richmond newspaper he is content representing Virginia in the Senate
♦By Rich Shumate, Chicken Fried Politics.com editor
RICHMOND (CFP) — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says he is through with presidential-level politics and will not run for the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Kaine made those remarks in a November 17 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, his first in-depth interview since he and Hillary Clinton went down to defeat on November 8.
“I want to run and serve in the Senate for a long time,” Kaine said. “I was really honored to be asked by Hillary, and it was a history-making race to be the first woman nominated. And for her to do well in Virginia and win the popular vote, that is all to her credit. And I was really proud to be part of it. But I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done.”
Kaine told the newspaper that he would like to emulate the career path of former U.S. Senator John Warner, who represented Virginia in the Senate for 30 years before retiring in 2009. Warner never sought the presidency.
Had Kaine been willing to seek the presidency in 2020, he would have been a leading contender on the Democratic side, given his name recognition from the 2016 race.
Kaine is up for re-election in 2018. While Republicans would likely make a charge at him, Virginia has been trending Democrat in statewide races, with the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats in Democratic hands.
The Clinton-Kaine ticket carried Virginia by 5 points. It was the lone Southern state that they won.
Kaine was the only Southerner to make the ticket of either major political party this year, although 10 Southerners unsuccessfully sought their party’s nomination, including two Virginians, former Democratic U.S. Senator Jim Webb and former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore.
Former Texas governor says “no room” for “nativist appeals” in GOP race
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ST. LOUIS (CFP) — Four months before the first vote is cast, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has suspended his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination — but not before taking a veiled blast at front-runner Donald Trump over his negative comments about Latino immigrants.
“We cannot indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further,” Perry said, without mentioning Trump by name. “There is no room for debate that denigrates certain people based on their heritage or their origin.”
“We can secure the border of this country and reform our immigration system without inflammatory rhetoric … Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ.”
Perry, who has languished near the bottom of the polls in the crowded GOP field, announced the end of his campaign September 11 in an appearance before the Eagle Forum, a conservative women’s group. The decision to drop out came after news reports that his campaign no longer had enough money to pay staff.
Saying “some things have become clear to me,” Perry went on to laud what he termed “a tremendous field of candidates.”
“I step aside knowing our party’s in good hands as long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to the cause of conservatism,” he said.
Perry, 65, a former Air Force officer who was a cotton farmer in West Texas before getting into politics, left office in January after serving 14 years as governor, the longest tenure in the state’s history.
This was his second try for the White House. He ran in 2012, entering the campaign as one of the favorites only to see his stock plummet after a series of of gaffes, including a moment in a debate when he could not remember the name of a federal agency he had previously pledged to abolish. He later blamed his faltering performance on lack of preparation and the aftereffects of back surgery.
Perry had hoped for political redemption in the 2016 race, but his candidacy never caught fire in the polls. He was one of the most outspoken critics of Trump, particularly over his assertions that many illegal migrants from Mexico were criminals.
Perry was one of nine Southern Republicans seeking the nomination. The other candidates are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jim Gilmore of Virginia; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
The lone Southern seeking the Democratic nomination is former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.
Watch video of Perry’s withdrawal announcement:
Webb, who left the Senate in 2012, says Americans “need to shake the hold” of political elites
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
RICHMOND (CFP) — Saying the United States “needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us,” former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has announced that he will seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” Webb said in a message announcing his candidacy posted on his campaign website July 2. “Our fellow Americans need proven, experience leadership that can be trusted to move us forward.”
In his opening campaign salvo, Webb positioned himself as an outsider in the race, noting that “more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars.”
“Highly paid political consultants are working to shape the ‘messaging’ of every major candidate,” he said. “We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process.”
Webb also took a direct swipe at the Democratic frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her initial support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Webb publicly opposed.
“Let me assure you, as president, I would not have urged an invasion of Iraq,” Webb said. “I warned in writing five months before that invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions.”
When she ran for president in 2008, Clinton defended her vote authorizing the use of military force in Iraq — a vote which was used against her with great effect by Barack Obama. But in a 2014 book, she conceded that her vote was a mistake.
Webb also said he would have opposed military intervention in Libya in 2011 — which Obama authorized and Clinton supported as secretary of state — and that the subsequent terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi on her watch “was inevitable.”
Webb, 69, is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served in Vietnam and was the secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. In 2006, he won a surprise victory to the Senate, narrowly ousting incumbent Republican George Allen in an election in which anti-war sentiment lifted Democratic fortunes.
In the Senate, Webb was considered a centrist who frequently bucked the party line, including an assertion that Obamacare would be a “disaster” for the Democratic Party. In 2012, facing the prospect of a contentious rematch with Allen, he decided not to run for re-election and left the Senate after a single term.
More recently, Webb sounded a cautionary note on the renewed drive to remove the Confederate battle emblem in the wake of the Charleston church shootings, saying in a Facebook post that “we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War.”
“The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.”
Recent national polls have shown Webb’s support for the Democratic nomination in single digits, well behind Clinton and second-place U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
In the message launching his campaign, Webb touted his sponsorship in the Senate of a GI Bill providing benefits to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan and his support for reform of the criminal justice system.
“It’s costing us billions of dollars. It’s wasting lives, often beginning at a very early age, creating career criminals rather than curing them. It’s not making our neighborhoods safer,” he said.
Like a number of other presidential contenders in both parties, Webb also sounded a note of economic populism.
“Let’s work to restore true economic fairness in this great country, starting with finding the right formula for growing our national economy while making our tax laws more balanced and increasing the negotiating leverage of our working people,” he said. “Our goal will be to increase the financial stability of the American workforce.”
Webb also said he would “work toward bringing the complex issue of immigration reform to a solution that respects the integrity of our legal traditions, while also recognizing the practical realities of a system that has been paralyzed by partisan debate.”
Webb is the only Southerner among the five candidates seeking the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, although Clinton was a resident of Arkansas before moving to New York to run for the Senate in 2000.
Eight Southerners are seeking the Republican nomination: U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Jindal touts his record, says Republicans “must stop being afraid to lose”
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
KENNER, Louisiana (CFP) — Taking a swipe at both Democratic “socialism” and a Republican Party that he says has been “beaten into submission,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal launched his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination by calling himself a “doer,” not a “talker.”
“There are a lot of great talkers running for president. But none of them — not one — can match our record of actually shrinking the size of government,” Jindal said in his June 24 kickoff rally in Kenner, a New Orleans suburb. “I’m not running for president to be somebody. I’m running for president to do something.”
“If you want somebody who’s just going to pretend that everything is fine, just make some small tweaks, then you want somebody else. I’ll make this promise to you. I will never lead from behind.”
Jindal, 44, is in the last year of his second term as the Pelican State’s chief executive. He touted his record as governor in his opening address, noting that he took office just two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
“Our economy was locked in a downward spiral. Our biggest city was reeling. For 25 straight years, more people had left this state than had moved into it,” he said. “Louisiana was in big trouble, so we had to make big changes.”
Among the achievements Jindal cited were education reform, particularly in New Orleans where the entire school system was converted into charter schools, and a 26 percent reduction in the state’s budget.
“It wasn’t easy. The big government crowd fought us every step of the way,” he said. “But in the end, we won.”
However, Jindal had to delay his widely anticipated presidential campaign while Louisiana’s legislature struggled to close a massive budget deficit that the governor’s critics blame on his refusal to consider tax increases to offset sharp declines in revenues from oil production.
Those budget problems have taken a toll on Jindal’s popularity, with a poll in March putting his approval rating at just 27 percent.
Jindal, a Rhodes scholar, was something of a wunderkind in Louisiana politics, becoming head of the state health department at the tender age of 24 and president of the University of Louisiana System at just 28. He was appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the administration of President George W. Bush.
Jindal left the Bush administration to run unsuccessfully for governor in 2003. In 2004, he was elected to the U.S. House, representing a suburban New Orleans district until his election as governor in 2007.
In the opening speech of his presidential campaigns, Jindal signaled that he plans to run as an unvarnished conservative who would cut the size of government and defend religious liberty.
“Republicans must stop being afraid to lose,” he said. “If we try to hide who we are again, we will lose again.”
Jindal took a direct shot at one of his chief GOP rivals, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, by lampooning Bush’s assertion that GOP candidates “need to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election.”
“We’re going to help him do that,” Jindal said. “What Jeb Bush is saying is we need to hide our conservative ideals … Let’s do something new. Let’s endorse our own principles for a change. Let’s boldly speak the truth without fear.”
In recent months, Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants who converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager, has been courting religious conservatives, particularly with his outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage. In his campaign kickoff, he charged that Christianity “is under assault today in America.”
“I want to say this slowly so that even Hillary Clinton can understand this — America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America,” he said.
Jindal — whose given name is Piyush and who, if elected, would be the nation’s first Indian-American president — also lashed out at “all this talk about hyphenated Americans.”
“We are not Indian-Americans, African-Americans, Irish-Americans, rich Americans or poor Americans. We are all Americans.”
Jindal also leveled a broadside against President Obama, saying “this president and his apprentice-in-waiting, Hillary Clinton, are leading America down the path to destruction economically, culturally and internationally.”
“The simple fact is they are trying to turn the American dream into socialism.”
Jindal said his four main objectives as president would be to secure the border, replace Obamacare with a market-based health care system, cut the size of government and improve “America’s defenses.”
Jindal is one of eight Southern Republicans seeking the presidency in 2016. In addition to Bush and Jindal, the other Southern candidates are former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The Southern GOP field is divided equally between senators and governors. Two of the last three Republicans elected president — George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan — served as governor, while the last GOP senator elected to the presidency was Warren Harding in 1920.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has launched an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic nomination — a race that’s expected to be dominated by former Secretary of State Clinton, a former first lady of Arkansas who went on to be elected to the Senate from New York.
Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, touts his executive experience in campaign kickoff
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ADDISON, Texas (CFP) — Charging that Americans “are at the end of an era of failed leadership,” former Texas Governor Rick Perry launched his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination by touting his experience as the longest-serving governor in the history of the Lone Star State.
“Leadership is not a speech on the Senate floor. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. And we will not find the kind of leadership needed to revitalize the country by looking to the political class in Washington,” Perry said at his campaign kickoff at an airport in Addison, a Dallas suburb.
“I have been tested. I have led the most successful state in America. I have dealt with crisis after crisis, from the disintegration of a space shuttle to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, to the crisis at the border and the first diagnosis of Ebola in America.”
Perry, 65, a former Air Force officer who was a cotton farmer in West Texas before getting into politics, left office in January after serving 14 years as governor. He began his political life in 1984 as a Democrat before switching the GOP in 1989, as it became ascendent in Texas politics.
In 2012, Perry unsuccessfully sought the GOP presidential nomination. He entered the campaign as one of the frontrunners, only to see his stock plummet after a series of of gaffes, including a moment in a debate when he could not remember the name of a federal agency he had previously pledged to abolish.
Perry — who later blamed his faltering 2012 performance on lack of preparation and the aftereffects of back surgery — did not mention his first campaign during his kickoff rally. But he did offer scathing criticism of President Barack Obama’s leadership.
“We have been led by a divider who has sliced and diced the electorate, pitting American against American for political purposes,” he said. “Weakness at home has led to weakness abroad. The world has descended into a chaos of this president’s own making, while his White House loyalists construct an alternative universe where ISIS is contained and Ramadi is merely a setback.”
Perry also decried what he called “the arrogance of Washington DC, representing itself as some beacon of wisdom, with policies smothering this vast land with no regard for what makes each state and community unique.”
He also sounded a note of economic populism, saying “it is time to create real jobs, to raise wages, to create opportunity for all, to give every citizen a stake in this country, to restore hope — real hope — to forgotten Americans, millions of middle class families who have given up hope of getting ahead.”
As he pursues the presidency, Perry is also battling felony charges of abuse of power and coercion brought by a prosecutor in Austin stemming from his veto, as governor, of $7.5 million in funding for a public integrity unit in the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
In April 2013, Lehmberg, a Democrat, was arrested for driving with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, and video showed her being combative with the arresting officers. Perry demanded the Lehmberg resign and, when she didn’t, followed through with a threat to veto funding for the unit.
Perry has vowed to fight the charges, which he has dismissed as politically motivated.
Perry is one of eight Southern Republicans who have launched, or are expected to launch, presidential bids in 2016.
Those already in the race include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Also expected to enter the race are Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida.
The Southern GOP field, then, is divided equally between senators and governors. Two of the last three Republicans elected president — George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan — served as governor. The last GOP senator elected to the presidency was Warren Harding in 1920.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has already launched an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic nomination — a race that’s expected to be dominated by former Secretary of State Clinton, a former first lady of Arkansas who went on to be elected to the Senate from New York.
Watch the video of Perry’s campaign kickoff: