Review Category : Poltics

Three GOP Senators Fight Against Koch Brothers Critics on Election Spending

David Koch (L) Photo Credit: Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images / Charles Koch (R) Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage(WASHINGTON) — They have been called “radical,” “toxic,” and even “un-American,” but over the weekend, three likely Republican presidential contenders defended the billionaire Koch brothers, who are reportedly planning to spend nearly $900 million to support conservative candidates and causes during the 2016 election cycle.

“Let me be very clear, I admire Charles and David Koch,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told ABC’s Jonathan Karl at a forum sponsored by Freedom Partners, a non-profit backed by the brothers. “They are businessmen who’ve created hundreds of thousands of jobs and they have stood up for free market principles and endured vilification with equanimity and grace.”

The Texas senator was joined on stage by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, at this year’s first 2016 presidential forum held in Palm Springs.

“There are a bunch of Democrats who have taken as their talking point that the Koch brothers are the nexus of all evil in the world,” Cruz continued. “I think that is grotesque and offensive.”

Cruz, who noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vilifies the Kochs “every week,” added, “There is a reason Harry Reid and the Democrats do that. They cannot defend the record. They can’t defend the Obama economy, it’s a disaster. They can’t defend Obamacare, which is a trainwreck. And they certainly can’t defend the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. So they want to scare people by painting a picture of nefarious billionaires.”

Rubio asserted that some on the left criticize the Kochs for their political spending, but welcome campaign cash from friendlier sources.

“The people who seem to have a problem with it are the ones that only want unions to be able to do it, their friends in Hollywood to be able to do it and their friends in the press to be able to do it,” Rubio said.

Rubio used the example of billionaire Tom Steyer, who donated heavily to Democratic candidates in 2014, arguing that while he doesn’t agree with Steyer’s views, he stands by his right to spend money to promote them.

“There is a gentleman out there who has radical environmental ideas who has spent tens of millions of dollars, lost most of his races,” Rubio said. “But spent tens of millions of dollars attacking Republicans that don’t want to impose his radical environmental agenda. He has a right to do that.”

Rubio added, “I believe in freedom of speech. And I believe that spending on political campaigns is a form of political speech that is protected under the Constitution.”

Paul acknowledged that special interests can have a negative influence on government, but said the only special interests he’s concerned about “are those who do business with government, get government contracts, take the government money and then try to get more contracts.”

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Rubio vs. Walker: Why a Senator Thinks Governors Might Not Be Good Presidents

ABC News / US Senate(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of a midterm cycle where public ire surged, anti-Washington sentiment is high nationwide – and some pundits have suggested that in 2016, a governor, rather than a legislator, might be more palatable to voters fed up with bickering in Washington.

But at a conservative forum moderated by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, one senator with possible presidential ambitions made a strong case for senatorial leadership:

“I think the No. 1 obligation of the federal government is the national security of the United States in conducting its foreign policy,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who appears to be preparing to mount his own bid for the White House.

“I do think having experience but also a seriousness about the breadth and scope of the challenges we face which are much more difficult than they were 25 years ago” is important for a potential president, he said.

This isn’t the first time Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has touted his foreign policy experience – but as ABC’s Karl pointed out, his potential 2016 rivals remain unconvinced.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also thought to be contemplating a bid for the presidency in 2016, told Karl in November that the Republican nominee has “got to be an outsider.”

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor, people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward,” Walker told Karl.

“Well, if I was a governor I’d say the same thing,” Rubio said Sunday night, as laughter rippled through the audience.

“It is important for the next president of the United States to understand the diversity of the challenges, to have a global strategic vision and an understanding of what the U.S.’ role in it,” said Rubio. “Now does that mean that, you, a governor, can’t acquire that? Of course they could. But I would also say that, you know, taking a trip to some foreign city for two days does not make you Henry Kissinger either.”

And Rubio couldn’t resist a jab at the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton:

“I think it would be a mistake to elect as president the architect of the Obama foreign policy,” he said. “That would be a terrible mistake.”

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Rubio vs. Walker: Why a Senator Thinks Governors Might Not Be Good Presidents

ABC News / US Senate(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of a midterm cycle where public ire surged, anti-Washington sentiment is high nationwide – and some pundits have suggested that in 2016, a governor, rather than a legislator, might be more palatable to voters fed up with bickering in Washington.

But at a conservative forum moderated by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, one senator with possible presidential ambitions made a strong case for senatorial leadership:

“I think the No. 1 obligation of the federal government is the national security of the United States in conducting its foreign policy,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who appears to be preparing to mount his own bid for the White House.

“I do think having experience but also a seriousness about the breadth and scope of the challenges we face which are much more difficult than they were 25 years ago” is important for a potential president, he said.

This isn’t the first time Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has touted his foreign policy experience – but as ABC’s Karl pointed out, his potential 2016 rivals remain unconvinced.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also thought to be contemplating a bid for the presidency in 2016, told Karl in November that the Republican nominee has “got to be an outsider.”

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor, people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward,” Walker told Karl.

“Well, if I was a governor I’d say the same thing,” Rubio said Sunday night, as laughter rippled through the audience.

“It is important for the next president of the United States to understand the diversity of the challenges, to have a global strategic vision and an understanding of what the U.S.’ role in it,” said Rubio. “Now does that mean that, you, a governor, can’t acquire that? Of course they could. But I would also say that, you know, taking a trip to some foreign city for two days does not make you Henry Kissinger either.”

And Rubio couldn’t resist a jab at the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton:

“I think it would be a mistake to elect as president the architect of the Obama foreign policy,” he said. “That would be a terrible mistake.”

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Iowa Governor Falls Ill, Transported by Ambulance to Hospital

Steve Pope/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad “fell ill” at an event Monday, according to his office, requiring an ambulance to take him to a Des Moines hospital.

In a statement, his office said Branstad was “alert and conscious” as he was transported to Methodist hospital in downtown Des Moines.

“During the transport, paramedics took the governor’s vitals and initial tests indicate that the spell was caused by a seasonal illness,” the statement said. “The governor had been suffering from the effects of a cold.”

Branstad, the longest serving governor in United States history, spent a long day Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit talking to potential presidential candidates, doing interviews and addressing the large group of activists gathered.

Des Moines Register reporter Jason Noble reported in a tweet that Branstad was at one point lying on the ground “in distress.”

An aide to the governor told ABC News that Branstad, 68, had been battling the cold and flu in recent days. But during an appearance at his weekly press conference on Monday morning in Des Moines, Branstad’s voice was hoarse, but he otherwise seemed fine.

Branstad has a history of heart illness. He had a heart attack in 2000 and 10 years later had a procedure to open a blocked artery. But aides said they did not believe Monday’s incident was anything more than the cold or flu, but would know more after Branstad was admitted to the hospital.

He was holding an event at DuPont Pioneer, an agriculture company.

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Joe Biden, John Boehner Share State of the Union Survival Tips

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In a rare instance of bipartisanship, Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner both agree that sitting through the State of the Union can be a bit of a bore.

Biden got little sympathy from his wife when he complained about having to sit attentively behind the president at last week’s address.

“I sit back there and I listen and I helped write the ideas in the speech and I know it all and I’ve got to pay attention,” Biden griped in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, didn’t want to hear it.

“She said, ‘Welcome to the Good Wives Club,” Joe Biden explained.

“She said, ‘How many time have I sat and listened to you make a speech and pretend to be interested,'” he added. “So I’m a member of the Good Wives Club.”

Feigning interest in the speech is a task that Biden shares with Boehner as the two sit on-camera behind the president throughout the entire address.

“I stare at the back of the president’s head and my goal is to make no news,” Boehner told CBS’ 60 Minutes.

“This is the president’s night. …Although inside I’ve got a lot of things rolling through my mind,” he said.

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Rand Paul on Possible Mitt Romney Run: ‘No, No, No, No’

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(PALM SPRINGS, Calif.) — As recently as October, Ann Romney was waving off the notion of a third Mitt Romney candidacy. After two failed presidential bids, in 2008 and 2012, she and her husband had “moved on,” she told ABC News.

Though sources close to Mitt Romney recently announced he’s once again “thinking about” another bid for the White House, at least one of Romney’s GOP colleagues thinks Ann Romney had the right idea.

“I’m with Ann Romney on this one: No, no, no, no, never,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl at a forum of three likely 2016 presidential candidates in Palm Springs, California, Sunday night.

Romney “would have made a great president,” added Paul, rumored to be considering his own White House bid. “But to win the presidency you have the reach out and appeal to new constituencies. And I just don’t think it’s possible.”

“And if he thinks, ‘Well, I’m just going to change a few themes and next time I’ll reach out to more people,’ I think it’s a little more visceral than that,” the libertarian lawmaker said of Romney.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another Republican rumored to be harboring presidential ambitions, said Romney’s infamous on-camera gaffe cost Republicans the White House.

“I think in 2012, the reason Republicans lost can be sum up it in two words: 47 percent,” Cruz said at the forum.

Just months before the 2012 election, Romney was caught on tape at a private fundraiser telling guests that they shouldn’t “worry about” the 47 percent of people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

“I don’t just mean that comment,” Cruz said. “The central narrative of the last election, what the voters heard, was, ‘We don’t have to worry about the 47 percent.’ And I think Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent.

“We should be fighting for the little guy who has dreams and hopes and desires,” he said.

The forum’s third guest, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., refused to “Monday morning quarterback” Romney’s performance in 2012.

“I think he put it all into the race,” Rubio said. “He’s someone who’s earned the right to decide whatever it is he wants to do.”

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Small Drone Found on White House Grounds: Law Enforcement Sources

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A small drone was found on the White House grounds overnight, two law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the situation “does not pose any sort of ongoing threat.”

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, India, Earnest said the Secret Service is investigating the device.

President and Mrs. Obama are currently in India, with a stop planned in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. It was unclear if the president’s daughters were at home at the time of the incident.

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Small Drone Found on White House Grounds: Law Enforcement Sources

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A small drone was found on the White House grounds overnight, two law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the situation “does not pose any sort of ongoing threat.”

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, India, Earnest said the Secret Service is investigating the device.

President and Mrs. Obama are currently in India, with a stop planned in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. It was unclear if the president’s daughters were at home at the time of the incident.

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Small Drone Found on White House Grounds: Law Enforcement Sources

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A small drone was found on the White House grounds overnight, two law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the situation “does not pose any sort of ongoing threat.”

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, India, Earnest said the Secret Service is investigating the device.

President and Mrs. Obama are currently in India, with a stop planned in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. It was unclear if the president’s daughters were at home at the time of the incident.

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Small Drone Found on White House Grounds: Law Enforcement Sources

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A small drone was found on the White House grounds overnight, two law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News, but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the situation “does not pose any sort of ongoing threat.”

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, India, Earnest said the Secret Service is investigating the device.

President and Mrs. Obama are currently in India, with a stop planned in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. It was unclear if the president’s daughters were at home at the time of the incident.

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