Huckabee is Back

Joe Veix

The Values Voters Summit weighs in: Mike Huckabee is the preferred GOP candidate for 2012 presidential run.

Last Saturday, at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, about one-third of registered attendees voted for their preference of potential GOP candidates for 2012. Huckabee won, with 28% of the vote. They also voted for their top issues, which included abortion and same-sex marriage.

Huckabee’s views on those two issues (assuming they haven’t changed since the 2008 Presidential primaries) are starkly conservative. He’s anti-abortion, and wants to ban it. He’s against stem cell research. He’s also against same-sex marriage, civil unions, and adoption.

Tied for second for potential candidates were some other familiar names: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

It’s still really early to be making any predictions, but given the increased fervor on the Right, especially after the 9/12 protests, it’s again worth questioning the direction of the GOP. Will they nominate a moderate or seemingly moderate candidate, or let the populist anger dominate the spirit of their party, and nominate someone approved by Glenn Beck? Given the popular candidates at the Value Voters Summit, it’s looking like the latter, but maybe their anger won’t sustain into 2012.

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News Politics

With Primary Wins, Clinton Is First Woman to Become Presumptive Nominee of Major Party

Ally Boguhn

Celebrating her victory at a rally in Brooklyn Tuesday night, the former secretary of state pointed to the historic nature of her campaign. "Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone: the first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee," declared Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared herself the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2016 presidential election after a string of Tuesday night primary victories and a survey of superdelegates conducted by the Associated Press (AP).

Celebrating her victory at a rally in Brooklyn Tuesday night, Clinton pointed to the historic nature of her campaign. “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone: the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee,” declared Clinton. “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”

Going on to praise rival Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for “the extraordinary campaign he has run,” Clinton pointed to the shared goals of the two campaigns. “Let there be no mistake, Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very good for the Democratic party and for America.” 

Clinton went on to pivot to the general election, criticizing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump as “temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief.” Clinton then spoke of the road ahead: “The end of the primaries is only the beginning of the work we are called to do,” she said. “But if we stand together, we will rise together, because we are stronger together.”

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Tuesday’s presidential primaries boosted Clinton’s delegate lead over Sanders, with wins in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Sanders won both Montana and the North Dakota caucuses. NBC News reported that night that, projecting a win in California, Clinton had secured more than half of all pledged delegates in the Democratic primary:

Based on initial vote reports from California, NBC News has allocated 140 delegates to both Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders. That gives Clinton 2,043 delegates, more than half of the pledged delegates up for grabs throughout the primary season.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, whose organization endorsed Clinton in January, reiterated the organization’s support for the former secretary of state in a Tuesday night statement. “Secretary Clinton’s victory tonight is a victory for all women because she is the model of a true champion for reproductive freedom,” said Hogue. “NARAL will be out in force to make sure Hillary Clinton is our next president—not Donald Trump.”

Clinton has been a vocal supporter of reproductive rights while on the campaign trail, though the Democratic candidate has also signaled her support for restrictions on some later abortions.

The former secretary of state reportedly spoke of the historical significance of a potential win Tuesday night during a campaign stop in California, prior to reports that she had become the party’s presumptive nominee.

“My supporters are passionate. They are committed. They have voted for me in great numbers across the country for many reasons,” said Clinton Monday according to the Washington Post. “But among the reasons is their belief that having a woman president would make a great statement—a historic statement—about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It’s really emotional.”

Tuesday also marked the eight-year anniversary of Clinton’s speech conceding the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, which similarly mentioned the progress her campaign had made for women. “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks in it and the light is shining through like never before,” said Clinton that night, urging her supporters to back her rival in the race for president.

AP first projected Clinton as the presumptive nominee Monday after conducting a “count of pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses and a survey of party insiders known as superdelegates,” ultimately concluding that the Democratic candidate had the required 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Sanders and his supporters swiftly condemned the media for calling the race before Tuesday’s primaries results were in. “It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” said Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs in a Monday statement.

“Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination,” continued Briggs. “Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.”

As the New York Times’ The Upshot blog explained, this is not the first time a count including superdelegates was used to declare a presumptive nominee. “The news networks projected that Mr. Obama was the presumptive nominee in the 2008 Democratic primary based on the same rules for tabulating superdelegates,” noted writer Nate Cohn Tuesday.

Politico reported last week Sanders would need “to persuade nearly 200 Hillary Clinton superdelegates to bolt from her camp” in order to win the nomination—a difficult feat given that thus far no superdelegates have made that switch and only about 30 changed candidates in 2008.

Even as Tuesday night’s results came in, Sanders pledged to continue his fight for the Democratic nomination. “Next Tuesday we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C. … And then we take our fight for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” said Sanders during a rally in California.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Clinton Rakes in Endorsements as Huckabee Lashes Out Against His Base

Ally Boguhn

This week on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton wins key endorsements, Mike Huckabee lashes out, and Marco Rubio criticizes Obama's funding of Planned Parenthood.

The presidential candidates started off the new year this week with a renewed focus on reproductive rights: Hillary Clinton won key endorsements from advocacy groups Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lamented that his anti-choice stance was too extreme for evangelicals, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) criticized President Obama’s support of women’s health in a new campaign ad.

Hillary Clinton Wins Key Endorsements from Reproductive Rights Advocacy Organizations

Hillary Clinton received endorsements from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America this week.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the group’s political arm, announced its endorsement of Clinton Thursday, making the former Secretary of State the first candidate to ever receive an official endorsement from the organization during the primary season.

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Clinton will formally accept Planned Parenthood’s endorsement during a rally Sunday in Manchester, New Hampshire, which will kick off the group’s electoral season.

The group’s endorsement could prove critical, as it has already gathered more than $20 million to spend on both the presidential and Senate races for the 2016 election cycle. It plans to use that money to influence races in key states such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

“Let’s be clear—reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016. It is unthinkable that our daughters and granddaughters would have fewer rights than my generation did, yet every single GOP candidate for president wants to erase decades of progress for women—pledging to cut access to Planned Parenthood, ban safe, legal abortion, and block health insurance coverage for birth control,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a statement announcing the group’s endorsement.

“We’re proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States,” Richards added. “No other candidate in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women’s health and rights.”

Planned Parenthood’s announcement came just days after NARAL Pro-Choice America made its own show of support of Clinton.

In a statement on the decision, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue cited the group’s confidence that Clinton “has what it it takes” to combat the onslaught of attacks on reproductive rights taking place across the country.

“Decisions made in the next several years will determine how women and families fare in the United States for decades to come. We need not just a worthy ally, but a champion with a demonstrated record of fighting for reproductive freedom and economic justice,” Hogue said. “Hillary Clinton is that champion.”

Mike Huckabee Lashes Out at Religious Right for Supporting Other Candidates, Claims They’re “Scared to Death” He’d Get Elected

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lashed out at evangelical leaders during an interview with Todd Starnes, accusing them of not wanting to stop abortion and same-sex marriage in order to continue to fundraise off the issues.

Speaking with Starnes on his Fox News Radio podcast, Huckabee lamented that many evangelical leaders had chosen to back other Republican candidates, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), instead of him.

“A lot of them, quite frankly, I think they’re scared to death that if a guy like me got elected, I would actually do what I said I would do,” said Huckabee of the religious leaders’ snub, adding that he would implement fetal “personhood” policies across the country, utilize the Fifth and 14th Amendments to outlaw abortion, and ignore the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

“A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions,” concluded the presidential hopeful.

But that wasn’t Huckabee’s only attempt to push his support of a dangerous personhood agenda, which could ban abortion and many forms of birth control, this week.

On Tuesday, Huckabee exploited the announcement of President Obama’s planned executive actions on gun control in order to once again push his anti-choice platform into the conversation.

“You say if we can save one life we should. Well, apply 5th & 14th amendments to the unborn & save 4,000 lives a day. #ProLife,” Huckabee tweeted at the president.

Marco Rubio: Obama Fought to Fund Planned Parenthood Instead of Our Troops

Marco Rubio attacked President Obama for fighting to protect Planned Parenthood in a campaign ad released this week, claiming that the president had neglected to fund the military in favor of supporting the reproductive health-care provider.

“Instead of fighting to fund our troops, he fights to fund Planned Parenthood,” Rubio claimed in a 30-second ad titled “Safe,” scheduled to air in key early voting states.

Asserting that Obama has prioritized reproductive health and climate change instead of terrorism, Rubio promised to be a “real commander in chief” should he be elected.

“Marco Rubio’s American dream is a woman’s worst nightmare,” Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Dawn Laguens said in a statement responding to the ad.

“If he had his way, women wouldn’t be able to access safe, legal abortion—even in cases of rape and incest—insurance coverage for birth control under the ACA would be eliminated; and millions would lose access to basic reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood,” Laguens continued, referencing Rubio’s blanket opposition to abortion.   

Although Rubio has previously supported abortion restrictions that did include some exceptions for cases of rape and incest, the Republican senator has faced criticismeven from those within his own party—for repeatedly voicing that he no longer supports such exceptions.