April 28, 2016

John Boehner lets it rip on Ted Cruz: 'Lucifer in the flesh'


In retirement, John Boehner feels free to speak his mind. 

The former House speaker told a Stanford University audience Wednesday that presidential Republican candidate Ted Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

"I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life," Boehner said, according to The Stanford Daily.

The Ohio Republican's contempt toward Cruz is well known, stemming from a 2013 government shutdown backed by the Texas senator. In a fundraiser, Boehner once referred to Cruz as a "jackass."

Meanwhile, Boehner described his relationship with front-runner and fellow golfer Donald Trump as one between "texting buddies."

Asked about Boehner's remarks, Cruz told reporters while campaigning in Indiana that the former speaker let his "inner Trump come out."

"John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy," Cruz said. "So if you want someone that's a texting and golfing buddy, if you're happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man."

This post has been updated.

April 27, 2016

Ted Cruz says Carly Fiorina would be his running mate


From the Associated Press:

In need of momentum after a five-state shutout, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has tapped former technology executive Carly Fiorina to serve as his running mate.

The Texas senator plans to unveil his pick for vice president Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, an unusual move for an underdog candidate that reflects the increasing urgency for the fiery conservative to reverse his downward trajectory.

Cruz's plans were confirmed by a Republican with direct knowledge of Fiorina's selection, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized speak before the official announcement.

"Carly is bright, knowledgeable, brings great financial expertise and she's a woman," said Gary Aminoff, the Los Angeles County co-chair of the Cruz campaign. Aminoff said he had also been told Fiorina was Cruz's choice.

The 61-year-old Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has been a prominent Cruz ally since shortly after abandoning her own presidential bid earlier in the year. She was the only woman in the Republican Party's crowded 2016 field.

More here.

April 23, 2016

Ted Cruz is the GOP establishment's last hope: 'He’s still a certified loony... But he’s probably the only hope we have'

Cruz for leary

via @learyreports

TOWSON, Maryland -- As the American Legion hall filled in, the crowd buzzed over the unusual spectacle they were about to witness: A Republican presidential candidate campaigning in this deeply Democratic state.

“We count this year. It’s amazing. We count this year!” said Dave Walcher, an insurance agent from Towson, near Baltimore, who wore a black T-shirt showing Ronald Reagan dressed like a biker. Tuesday’s primary is the first Walcher, 49, can remember mattering.

Just as remarkable is the man responsible for Maryland’s competitive status: Ted Cruz.

He has prevented Donald Trump from wrapping up the nomination and stands, improbably, as the last hope of a GOP establishment that openly loathes the brash, theatrical Texan.

“If the right people don’t like you, then you’re probably the right guy,” said Steven Brosey, 54, who attended the Cruz rally Monday. “Ted Cruz understands the Constitution and has taken unpopular stands. I like that.”

Cruz, 45, was the first Republican candidate to get in the race and has done a lot of things very well, not least of which is to outlast 14 rivals.

He has stuck to his conservative message while avoiding gaffes. Early on he conspicuously avoiding tangling with Trump. His debate performances have been solid. He’s raised a surprising amount of money and poured that into a team that has used voter data to target people with tailored messages.

The result: Key victories, including Iowa, that have stymied Trump’s path to the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.

Distrustful of Trump’s ideological conviction, his outlandish style and potential effect on crucial down-ballot races, Republicans are slowly coming around to Cruz.

“I’m getting more comfortable with him,” said St. Petersburg developer Mel Sembler, a major GOP fundraiser and party insider who had supported Jeb Bush. Last Monday, Cruz called Sembler to ask for help. Sembler sent him a $5,400 check and offered to put the campaign in contact with other Florida donors.

“He’s still a certified loony,” said Al Hoffman, another top Florida fundraiser and Bush supporter, referring to some of Cruz’s positions, including abolishing the IRS and mass deportations. “But he’s probably the only hope we have. Anybody but Trump. Let’s hope he learns how to be a president if he can win. In my view it’s a less than 50-50 chance he would even win.”

More here.

Photo credit: Matt Slocum, Associated Press

April 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton would trounce GOP among Florida Hispanics, poll says

via @learyreports

Hillary Clinton would easily win Florida’s growing Hispanic vote over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, polling released Friday shows.

The America’s Voice poll shows Clinton taking 69 percent of the vote to Trump’s 18 percent.

Against Cruz, Clinton takes 58 percent of the vote compared with the Texan’s 36 percent.

Sixty-eight percent of Florida Hispanic voters say Trump’s immigration views make them less likely to vote Republican in November. That’s 10 percent lower than nationally, reflecting a strong Florida GOP base.

When asked about Trump’s pledge to deport illegal immigrants, 65 percent Florida Hispanics said that makes them much less likely to vote for Trump, again lower than the 80 percent nationally.

Florida Hispanics say immigration reform is a top concern, closely followed by jobs and the economy. Education and Health care follow.

America's Voice advocates for immigration reform and its pollsters are aligned with Clinton.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 20, 2016

Ted Cruz wants to debate Donald Trump again


Ted Cruz challenged rival Donald Trump to another televised debate on Wednesday, preferably ahead of next Tuesday's primaries in a handful of northeastern states.

"It's been 41 days since we've had a Republican debate," Cruz told reporters at the Diplomat Resort & Spa, where the Republican National Committee was starting its three-day spring meeting. "Because Donald Trump is unwilling to stand on stage and debate, because he cannot defend his positions or his policies."

The Texas senator blamed the news media for not pressing for more debates, even though debates have been a ratings boon for television.

"I don't recall seeing on FOX News a debate countdown: 41 days and counting," he said. "What does it say for Hillary Clinton, the embodiment of imperial Washington arrogance, is more willing to submit to the voters and agree to debate than Donald Trump?"

Trump said after winning the Florida primary March 15 that he was done with debates. And the third remaining GOP contender, John Kasich, told reporters in Hollywood later Wednesday that he prefers one-on-one interviews where audience members ask questions, town-hall style.

"Town halls are the most important thing," he said. "Debates are all about sound bites."

Contested convention brings Ted Cruz, John Kasich to GOP meeting in Florida

For rnc advance


For three days, the center of the Republican political universe will be in Hollywood, Florida, where the national GOP began a three-day meeting Wednesday ahead of the July’s presidential nominating convention.

To voters, it might have looked like the campaign was elsewhere. Donald Trump held a big rally in Indiana, celebrating his rout in Tuesday’s New York primary. Ted Cruz took a sweet trip to a chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

But the behind-the-scenes action took place inside Hollywood’s beachside Diplomat Resort & Spa, where longtime activists who form the Republican National Committee kicked off their spring meeting.

Usually, the meeting attracts the attention only of political junkies interested in the inner workings of the party. But this is no usual year.

And so the RNC gathering drew not only party stalwarts but also two presidential candidates — John Kasich and Cruz, who flew down from Pennsylvania — and Trump’s campaign brass. Cruz and Kasich met privately with party members Wednesday afternoon; Trump’s team, including former opponent Ben Carson, is scheduled to sit down with members Thursday.

Though Trump further cemented his front-runner status with Tuesday’s New York win, the celebrity businessman has yet to amass a majority of convention delegates to seal the nomination. Cruz and Kasich each tried to make the case that they’d be a better choice.

More here.

Photo credit: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

April 15, 2016

Miamian recruits women for Ted Cruz coalition


Just because the presidential primary is long gone from Florida doesn't mean dedicated supporters of the remaining candidates are taking a break.

Take Lourdes Castillo de la Peña, an enthusiastic Ted Cruz backer.

The Miamian helped bring Cruz to town ahead of Florida's March 15 primary (won on the Republican side by Donald Trump) and held a fundraiser featuring Cruz's wife, Heidi Cruz. Now she's recruiting members for a "Women for Cruz" coalition formed after Trump posted an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz on Twitter.

"My mission is to get a representative from every county," Castillo de la Peña said. She called Cruz the most qualified potential First Lady, and argued most "average American women" can relate to her. Cruz, who served in the George W. Bush administration, is on leave from her job in Houston for Goldman Sachs.

"We all identify with her at some point," Castillo de la Peña said.

She added that, despite her passion for the campaign, she's not vying for one of the delegate spots for July's GOP convention. Miami-Dade County Republicans will choose their delegates Saturday in Hialeah.

April 13, 2016

Marco Rubio says he would support Ted Cruz on second ballot at convention

Marco Rubio still isn’t endorsing Ted Cruz, but said he would support the Texan on a second ballot in the event of a contested convention.

"I hope that they'll nominate a conservative,” Rubio told Mark Levin, adding the only one who ”fits that criteria is Ted Cruz.”

Rubio has stopped short of endorsing Cruz, leading to speculation about his calculations on a future run for president.

The TV interview is behind a pay wall but Rubio also acknowledged he is open to running for office again.

“I enjoyed public service but there are other things I’d like to do with life,” he said.

Vowing to “finish strong” in the Senate, Rubio said he would “remain engaged in helping people who hold limited government conservative values to get elected, and if there’s an opportunity to serve in the future, I’m obviously open to that.”

- by Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times

April 08, 2016

DNC chief Wasserman Schultz to Bernie and Hillary: Chill


With most political enthusiasts' attention riveted on the divisive GOP presidential race, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is urging the Democratic White House hopefuls to tone down their rhetoric.

Wasserman Schultz, who lives in Weston when she isn't in Washington or traveling the country as head of the Democratic National Committee, was asked about the increasingly sharp attacks against each other in recent days by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"I think both campaigns really need to be careful about making sure that we don't do lasting damage," Wasserman Schultz told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program Friday morning. "I don't think we're at that point, but I think it is important to be careful that at the end of the primary process, when we have a presumptive nominee, that we're able to easily reunify."

In advance of the April 19 primary in New York, which Clinton represented for six years as a U.S. senator before heading the State Department, Clinton has challenged Sanders' allegiance to the Democratic Party and questioned his preparedness to be president.

On Wednesday, Clinton told MSNBC that Sanders "himself doesn't consider himself to be a Democrat." Sanders, who lists his party for Senate votes as Independent but caucuses with Democrats, has at various times in his career described himself as a Socialist or a Democratic Socialist.

Clinton also criticized Sanders' repeated presidential campaign calls to break up big banks, again comparing her record as a pragmatist who gets things done.

"You can't really help people if you don't know how to do what you are campaigning on saying you want to do," Clinton said.

Sanders responded that night at a rally in Philadelphia.

"She has been saying lately that she thinks I am quote-unquote 'not qualified to be president,'" Sanders declared. "Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don't believe that she is qualified if she is, though her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds. I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don't think you are qualified if you support the Panama free trade agreement."

Clinton didn't actually say the phrase Sanders attributed to her about his lack of qualifications, but that phrase or similar ones ran in headlines in some news accounts of her comments.

Despite the sharp exchanges, Wasserman Schultz said it doesn't compare to "the food fight and the civil war that continues to rage on the Republican side."

Wasserman Schultz, who some Sanders supporters have accused of favoring Clinton in the Democratic race, also said that Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama had a more hard-hitting contest in their presidential primary campaign in 2008.

"Right now I would characterize the tenor and tone of this party to be nothing like the intensity of where we (Democrats) were eight years ago in 2008 between then-Sens. Clinton and Obama," she said.

After Obama gained the Democratic nomination in that primary race and then defeated Sen. John McCain to gain the White House, he chose Clinton as secretary of state. The two established a close relationship, and she has been trumpeting his achievements during her current run.

On the Republican side, billionaire businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz have been engaged in a nasty war of words for weeks, with the fight intensifying two weeks ago when the Republican front-runner tweeted an unflattering photograph of Cruz's wife Heidi Cruz.





PolitiFact: Guide to 2016 presidential candidates' tax plans

As you begrudgingly finish this year’s tax returns, the last thing you want to do is think about tax days to come. But after 2017, your taxes may be significantly different depending on who’s in the White House.

Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are both promising significant tax cuts across the board, largely benefitting the wealthy. Trump also wants to use the tax code to encourage companies to do business at home, while Cruz is for a one-rate-fits-all approach. John Kasich hasn’t released a formal tax plan or enough details for analysis. 

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is also advocating radical changes to the tax code, but he wants higher taxes on the super rich and to fund new government programs. Hillary Clinton targets the top income earners for tax increases through policy-specific tweaks, but her plan is hardly a revolution. (See our interactive chart at the end of this report.)

The Democrats’ plans, according to analysis by the free market-oriented Tax Foundation and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, would bring in revenue, but not necessarily economic growth. Conversely, the Republicans’ plans might stimulate the economy, but they would also bloat the deficit.  

So what exactly are the remaining presidential candidates proposing and how will their plans affect you?

See what Linda Qiu of PolitiFact found.