Former Candidates Rick Perry, George Pataki Make Their 2016 Picks

From left: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New York Gov. George Pataki

Earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham became the first ex-2016 presidential candidate to make an endorsement when he announced he was backing the candidacy of Jeb Bush.

This week, two more former candidates made their picks official. First was Rick Perry, who declared on Monday that he would be siding with his fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz:

Citing his record as an Air Force veteran, Mr. Perry said Mr. Cruz was especially able to be a leader of the U.S. military, although he has served less than one term as a U.S. senator and had scant national security experience before his election in 2012.

“Ted has proven that he is ready to serve as commander in chief on day one,” Mr. Perry said. “He has also proven the willingness to take on the Washington cartel and restore power and opportunity back to the people.”


Mr. Perry will campaign with Mr. Cruz in Iowa this week.

Then came George Pataki, who announced Tuesday that he would be supporting Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid:

“I am proud to endorse Marco Rubio,” Pataki said today in an interview with Fox News, adding that he believes Rubio is the right person to unite the Republican Party.

“Donald Trump is dividing us,” Pataki said. “Marco Rubio is going to bring us together.”


“He’s provided great leadership. He did it in the state legislature in Florida,” Pataki said about Rubio. “He’s done it in the U.S.

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Six Candidates Pledge to Sign First Amendment Defense Act Within First 100 Days

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
  • Dr. Ben Carson
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)
  • Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)

Four candidates did not sign the pledge but have expressed public support for FADA:

  • Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-Florida)
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)
  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
  • Donald Trump

Four candidates did not sign the pledge and did not respond to our request to indicate support for FADA:

  • Governor Chris Christie (R-New Jersey)
  • Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio)
  • Former Governor George Pataki (R-New York)
  • Former Governor Jim Gilmore (R-Virginia)

The text of the letter sent to the candidates requesting support for FADA is below:

[T]he gathering concern around whether or not the Left will succeed in its ongoing efforts to force those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, prompts us to write to you and ask: will you commit to making it a top priority for you to ensure passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) in the first 100 days of your administration?

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Two Major GOP Candidates to Miss the Next Debate

Photo credit: Teresa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Fox Business just announced that only eight candidates will make it onto the main stage for Tuesday’s debate. The main stage will feature: Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Fiorina, Paul, and Kasich. Two notable exceptions from the main stage are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee and Christie will be relegated to the early undercard debate where they will join Jindal and Santorum. Senator Graham and Former Governor Pataki both fell short of the necessary 1 percent to make the undercard debate and will be excluded altogether.

The exclusion of Sen. Graham and Gov. Pataki caused some controversy. Jim Geraghty, at the National Review, pointed out a serious flaw with Fox Business’ criteria: many of the latest polls that Fox Business used in their calculation have excluded candidates, including Graham and Pataki, from their survey options. As Geraghty writes:

You’re asking, “wait, a major pollster just stopped asking about Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore?” Yup.

It’s just about impossible for any of those five guys to rise if they’re not listed as an option, and their supporters have to volunteer their name.

Fox’s use of these polls begs the question: How can any candidate expect to meet polling criteria, if their name isn’t being polled?

While many have focused on the Christie and Huckabee having been relegated to the undercard debate, the circumstances behind the outright exclusion of Pataki and Graham have been largely overlooked. Continue Reading

Fiorina, Rubio Impress at Second GOP Debate

Photo credit: Peter Stevens via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate — a three-hour marathon with 11 candidates — was quite a show.

Preliminary numbers suggest that 20 million people tuned in. Prior to last night, CNN’s highest rated presidential primary debate featured Obama and Clinton battling it out in January 2008 with just over 8 million viewers.

That tells you something. There is a lot of energy among conservatives and interest in the GOP candidates. How much is due to Donald Trump’s presence on the stage?

All of the candidates had their moments last night and no one was seriously hurt. Trump was clearly dodging attacks from the rest of field thanks to CNN’s questioning, but I think he held up under the fire. It will be interesting to see what the polls reveal in the days ahead.

One candidate, however, clearly stood out.

Carly Fiorina delivered one of the best moments of the debate when she brilliantly combined foreign and domestic policy into an outstanding defense of America and the unborn. Watch it here.

Obama and Hillary said they would not watch the debate, but I guarantee there were plenty of left-wing operatives watching for them. I suspect they were reaching for the Maalox imagining Hillary Clinton on the stage debating the sanctity of life with Fiorina.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio also performed well, demonstrating a clear grasp of foreign policy. In recent days, we have written about how the Obama/Kerry team was caught flatfooted by Russia’s moves into Syria. Continue Reading

Santorum and Jindal Defend Kim Davis

Booking photo of Rowan County clerk Kim Davis

In the 6 p.m. debate, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal jumped to defend Kim Davis. George Pataki and Lindsey Graham? Not so much:

JAKE TAPPER: Before we took the break, you were all chomping at the bit to talk about Kim Davis, that Kentucky clerk. Governor Pataki said he would have fired Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Senator Santorum, do you agree with Governor Pataki?

RICK SANTORUM: 16 years ago, this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine and was challenged about her faith and she refused to deny God. We saw her as a hero. Today, someone who refuses to defy (sic) a judge’s unconstitutional verdict is ridiculed and criticized, chastised because she’s standing up and denying — not denying her God and her faith. That is a huge difference in 16 years. People have a fundamental right in the First Amendment. There’s no more important right. It is the right that is the trunk that all other rights come from, and that’s the freedom of conscience. And when we say in America that we have no room — how many bakers, how many florists, how many pastors, how many clerks are we going to throw in jail because they stand up and say, “I cannot violate what my faith says is against its teachings”? Is there not room in America? I believe there has to be room.

Continue Reading Report Card: What GOP Candidates Said About Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

On June 26, a narrow majority of Supreme Court justices struck down the traditional definition of marriage, ruling all 50 states must recognize same-sex unions as marriages.

The four dissenters included the usually mild-mannered Chief Justice John Roberts, who called the majority opinion “dangerous to the rule of law”: “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”

Chief Justice Roberts also underscored the “serious questions about religious liberty” the decision raises: “Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. . .there is little doubt these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority.”

How did the GOP presidential candidates respond to this decision? What did they promise to do about it?  This is the question’s Gay Marriage Report Card seeks to answer.

Unlike most report cards created by advocacy groups, our report card is not an evaluation of the candidates’ formal position or legislative record, but an analysis and report of how they responded to a major event unfolding in real time from the standpoint of those of us who care deeply about life, marriage and religious liberty. We cannot claim omniscience, but we can and do seek honesty and clarity.

In my last report card on GOP candidates’ response to the Indiana crisis, I sketched out a clear template for our evaluation: Did the candidate speak clearly for the bakers, the florists, and other who are losing their livelihood because of their dissent from gay marriage? Continue Reading

Even George Pataki Is Shocked by Planned Parenthood

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Congratulations are in order for Planned Parenthood. Unsurprisingly, the recent revelation that they are involved in trafficking baby body parts has been met with stern backlash from many in the GOP field and has reignited the calls for Congress to defund the organization.

Even the pro-choice former New York Governor George Pataki has called for Planned Parenthood to be defunded. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Pataki’s spokesman said:

The video is abhorrent and Governor Pataki would support ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

This is the same George Pataki that denied pro-life New York residents a specialty “Choose Life” license plate. So, congratulations Planned Parenthood. You’ve managed to appall the only pro-abortion candidate in the GOP field.

Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Why Fiorina Matters

Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mention former New York Gov. George Pataki or Carly Fiorina in the 2016 GOP primary and many voters will say: “Who?” Nonetheless, Pataki has been giving speeches in New Hampshire, has made plans to speak at the Iowa Agricultural Summit, and is getting his 15 minutes of media buzz. Both Fiorina and Pataki are most likely going to be in the GOP mix.

But if you are looking for long shots, Fiorina is the one to take seriously. True, Fiorina (the first female leader of a Fortune 20 company) has not held any political office, and she lost her 2010 bid in California to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.  The last nonpolitical candidate to receive the nod from a major political party was the conquering general Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

So, what has separated Fiorina from the George Patakis in the race? One major factor is that she has not shied away from her pro-life principles, and she has even made them a major part of her campaign, telling the Christian Post that “life is an important issue that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about.” Fiorina recently gave the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation’s event: Welcoming Every Life: Choosing Life after an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis

After the Iowa Freedom Summit, Former Oklahoma GOP Chairman Gary Jones told the Washington Times that:

“Carly Fiorina, whom most people had never heard of, got the best response.

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