Breaking: Graham Endorses Cruz

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

In another sign the non-Trump GOP is beginning to recognize it is either rally around Ted Cruz or lose to Hillary Clinton in November, Lindsey Graham (who was a big Cruz critic) is now saying he will help Ted Cruz in any way he can.

Politico is reporting that Graham will announce his support for Cruz during a fundraiser on Monday. This means John Kasich’s hopes he can somehow turn 29 straight defeats and one Ohio win into a becoming the GOP darling just took another blow.

Reality matters.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Why Does the GOP Establishment Hate Cruz?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

David Brooks has thoughtfully just published a piece in which he lays down the case that Ted Cruz is just as bad as Donald Trump for the GOP. It’s a thin case summed up in these two paragraphs:

Ted Cruz would be a terrible general election candidate, at least as unelectable as Donald Trump and maybe more so. He is the single most conservative Republican in Congress, far adrift from the American mainstream. He’s been doing well in primaries because of the support of “extremely conservative” voters in very conservative states, and he really hasn’t broken out of that lane. His political profile is a slightly enlarged Rick Santorum but without the heart.

On policy grounds, he would be unacceptable to a large majority in this country. But his policy disadvantages are overshadowed by his public image ones. His rhetorical style will come across to young and independent voters as smarmy and oleaginous. In Congress, he had two accomplishments: the disastrous government shutdown and persuading all his colleagues to dislike him.

These might be very good reasons for preferring and urging a different candidate than Cruz. But given the repeatedly stated idea that Trump would be a disaster for the country, and destroy the GOP, its a poor excuse for refusing to coalesce around the one candidate who has emerged as the non-Trump in this race.

Mitt Romney and his cohorts do not seem to understand that you cannot beat a horse unless you have another horse.  Continue Reading

Christie Joins Graham in Attacking Rubio for Being Too Pro-Life

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

As Mary noted yesterday, a new line of attack by Senator Lindsey Graham, who has endorsed Jeb Bush, is that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are too pro-life because they oppose, in principle, abortion in the case of rape.

Now Chris Christie has joined Graham’s anti-pro-life tactic.

Today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Christie declared, “Marco Rubio is not for an exception for . . . rape, incest or life of the mother. Now, you know, I think that’s the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about. I’m pro-life, but I believe that rape, incest and life of the mother — as Ronald Reagan did — should be exceptions to that rule.”

Similarly, the pro-Bush Right to Rise PAC had previously made a video painting Rubio as a pro-life extremist.

Rubio’s staunch pro-life position took center stage in the very first Republican debate, where he was questioned about his view and defended the principle that all unborn lives have value.

Rubio doubled down on the position the next morning on CNN, ably defending his 100-percent pro-life view in the face of criticism from host Chris Cuomo. Rubio clarified that he would sign or vote for a pro-life law if it had exceptions for rape, but at the same, he defended in principle the value of all unborn children regardless of the circumstances of conception and said he would not insist on those exceptions being in a law. Continue Reading

Guess Who Lindsey Graham Just Endorsed?

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Senator Lindsey Graham is trying to impact the GOP presidential race in a big way.

He’s making an endorsement.

Via The Hill:

“He’s steady and ready,” Graham is expected to say, according to prepared remarks provided to The Post and Courier. “He understands the serious threats our nation faces and has a plan to keep us safe.”

The hawkish lawmaker, who ended his campaign last month, sought to emphasize national security and put a focus on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Bush, along with Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), has also put an emphasis on defeating terrorism, and told Fox News that he was “very excited” to have Graham’s support.

“Lindsey Graham is probably the most knowledgable person on the Hill as it relates to national security, military affairs, foreign policy,” Bush said.

It is a somewhat surprising endorsement, given Bush’s weak standing in the polls and given Rubio’s current status as the favored “establishment” candidate. Nevertheless, Lindsey Graham becomes the first ex-candidate to make an endorsement in the 2016 race.

What do you think? Will it have an impact? Let us know in the comments.

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Rand Paul Lets Loose, Airs His Grievances on “Festivus”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Today is Festivus, a made-up holiday introduced to the world in 1997 on an episode of “Seinfeld.” Read more about it here.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to Twitter this morning to “air his grievances” against the other candidates. Here were some of his best tweets:

On Donald Trump:

On Ted Cruz:

On Ben Carson:

On Chris Christie:

Continue Reading

Lindsey Graham Exits 2016 Presidential Race

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (photo credit: Kai Mörk, CC BY 3.0 DE)


South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is suspending his presidential run, he told supporters on a conference call Monday.

His announcement came on the same day as the deadline hit for him to remove his name from the South Carolina primary ballot, a date that had been closely watched amid speculation that the low-polling Graham would want to avoid a potentially poor performance in his own state’s contest.

Graham has been Mr. Quotable on the campaign trail, but he never seemed to gain any traction in the polls. He’s been hovering below 1 percent throughout the cycle as voters gravitated toward more conservative, less establishment candidates.

Will more “one percenters” exit the race in the coming weeks? Or will the remaining candidates all hold out until Iowa?

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

What the Non-Pledgers Said in Support of FADA

As Jon reported earlier, four candidates have indicated support for the First Amendment Defense Act but did not sign our pledge to push for its passage in the first 100 days.  Three of those candidates’ campaigns — Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and Lindsey Graham — provided personal responses explaining their respective stances. (The fourth, Rand Paul, did not respond but has co-sponsored FADA in the Senate.)

Trump, to our knowledge, had never before indicated support for FADA.  You can read the three campaign responses below:

Donald Trump

Jeb Bush

‘I support the First Amendment Defense Act because I believe that Americans should be free to live and work according to their beliefs. This country has a long tradition of respect for religious liberty and the rights of conscience that are foundational to our freedom. The government should not be in the business of bullying or penalizing individuals, businesses, or other organizations who hold different views. This is a big country that can accommodate many different views, and we must be vigilant in preserving those freedoms that make America unique.’

Note: It is Governor Bush’s policy to not sign formal pledges circulated by advocacy groups. It is fine to cite Governor Bush’s support for the First Amendment Defense Act though.

Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham is a co-sponsor of the FADA and as president would certainly sign it if Congress was wise enough to pass it.

He doesn’t do pledges. He is a co-sponsor of the bill, has promoted it, would push for passage and would gladly sign it into law.

Continue Reading

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?

Continue Reading

Republican Congress Thwarts American People, Passes Obama-Backed Education Bill

U.S. Capitol Building

Several Republican presidential candidates had a great opportunity over the last two weeks to take the lead on an issue critical to millions of conservatives – federal control over public education. A couple helped their cause, a couple did not, and one blasted further down into the crater he’s been in from the beginning.

On Wednesday, the Senate followed the House in passing the conference report reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. Propaganda for the new bill, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), trumpeted that it would return education control to the states, allow them to discard the Common Core national standards, and prohibit the Secretary of Education from dictating standards and assessments.

In fact, ESSA will have pretty much the opposite effect. It lays out particular requirements for state standards and uses code language throughout that gives the federal government the tools to pressure the states to stick with Common Core rather than risking their federal money by adopting something better. It maintains the federally dictated testing regimen and requires states to implement assessments that are expensive, that have been proven to be ineffective and unworkable, and that operate not by assessing students’ academic knowledge but rather by measuring their attitudes and dispositions.

Equally bad are ESSA’s new preschool program (extending federal tentacles over toddlers) and its institution of President Obama’s pet project, “21st-century community learning centers.” The latter means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Continue Reading

Cruz, Rubio Among Candidates Voting to Defund Planned Parenthood

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham all voted in favor of the recent bill to cut major congressional spending geared towards the controversial Planned Parenthood.

The bill cut at least 89 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding as well as major components of Obamacare: the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” and the “excess benefits tax.” Rubio made a statement to about the importance of the passing bill for him and the American people:

I’m especially proud to support what this bill does to protect innocent unborn children, and increase funding for women’s health care by defunding Planned Parenthood and redirecting the taxpayer dollars it currently receives toward more worthy causes. Planned Parenthood has proven itself to be a morally bankrupt organization that shows little regard for the women they purport to serve and even less regard for innocent life. They do not deserve a dime of taxpayer money.

Senator Ted Cruz also sent out a statement on his feelings in light of the bill’s passing:

The vote we took today is a significant step towards repealing every word of Obamacare.  This bill repeals as much of that failed law as we can under arcane Senate rules and the narrow guidelines of the budget.  I am also encouraged that this bill prohibits taxpayer funds from going to abortion-providers.  This bill is a substantial improvement over the original House bill, and I’m grateful to Senate conservatives and Senate leadership for joining me in making it so.

This bill is the first of its kind and will have major implications for 2016. Continue Reading