Perry hits on immigration in debate

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry stood at center stage Thursday in the debate of second-tier Republican candidates for their party’s nomination for president and spoke repeatedly about immigration.

Perry, who had more support than his fellow candidates on the stage at the Fox News debate, said for him, the past four years have included much preparation and reflection to get him ready for his second run at the presidency. He didn’t mention the “Opps” moment in 2011 that derailed his candidacy during the last presidential race, nor did he talk about the indictments on two charges related to his effort to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.

Perry was asked by a Fox News moderator about the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, businessman and television reality star Donald Trump.

The governor has been perhaps the most aggressive candidate in attacks on Trump, but one of the moderators told Perry that Trump “seems to be getting the better of you.”

Perry responded by mocking Trump for backing single-payer health care and using his celebrity — rather than his politics — to make a run for the presidency.

Perry also took a couple of opportunities to talk about the border and his experience trying to secure it.

He mentioned confronting President Barack Obama on a Texas tarmac in 2014 about the issue.

“The border is still porous,” he said in the debate.

No one else running for the GOP nomination has experience on the border, he said.

He called for more military personnel on the border in strategic  places, construction of some walls, installation of cameras and “quick response teams.”

The 2016 election, according to Google Trends

The most popular search engine in the world has some insights about the 2016 presidential election.

This combination of photos, from top left, shows Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and from bottom left, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker. The candidates are scheduled to participate in a Fox News Channel Republican presidential debate Thursday.
This combination of photos, from top left, shows Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and from bottom left, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker. The candidates are scheduled to participate in a Fox News Channel Republican presidential debate Thursday.

While the data doesn’t necessarily point to what candidate is leading the race, the information Google Trends gathers says a lot about what people are interested in when it comes to the 22 candidates running for president.

Here are a few of the takeaways from Google Trend’s 2016 election data.

In the last six months, Google tracked the most searched candidate by area and found that Hilary Clinton was the most searched candidate in much of the country, including the Austin area.

In the week leading up to the first Republican debate, Google also mapped the most searched presidential candidate by state. Between July 29 and Aug. 4, people overwhelmingly searched for Donald Trump, including in Texas. Only two states — Wisconsin and Vermont — reported different searches. Unsurprisingly, the people of Wisconsin and Vermont searched for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is from Vermont.

Related reads: 5 things to watch for during the 2016 GOP debate

If you look at the top searched Republican by county, it is again overwhelmingly Trump. Travis County, which was reported to have searched the most for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was among the few counties that reported searching for a candidate other than Trump.

But what exactly are people searching for when they type candidates’ names into Google?

The most searched questions for almost every candidate pertain not to policy or experience, but to candidate’s height and age. For Trump, people also asked “What is Donald Trump’s net worth? and “Will Donald Trump be President?”

People also asked about Clinton’s net worth as well as “Who is running against Hillary Clinton?” 

For more on the most popular questions (Is Bernie Sanders a Socialist? Where was Ted Cruz born? Where did Rick Perry go to college?), check out Google Trend’s 2016 election page.

Follow live: 2016 GOP debate with Rick Perry and undercard candidates

(Photo by Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)
(Photo by Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

At 4 p.m., Fox News will host a debate for seven Republican presidential candidates who did not make the cut, based on their performance in recent polls, to be among the 10 candidates to participate in the prime time debate at 8 p.m.

The seven are former Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The debate will be moderated by Fox’s Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.

Update 4:37 p.m.: Former Gov. Rick Perry stood at center stage Thursday in the debate of second-tier Republican candidates for their party’s nomination for president and spoke repeatedly about immigration.

Perry, who had more support than his fellow candidates on the stage at the Fox News debate, said for him, the past four years have included much preparation and reflection to get him ready for his second run at the presidency. He didn’t mention the “Opps” moment in 2011 that derailed his candidacy during the last presidential race, nor did he talk about the indictments on two charges related to his effort to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.

Perry was asked by a Fox News moderator about the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, businessman and television reality star Donald Trump.

The governor has been perhaps the most aggressive candidate in attacks on Trump, but one of the moderators told Perry that Trump “seems to be getting the better of you.”

Perry responded by mocking Trump for backing single-payer health care and using his celebrity — rather than his politics — to make a run for the presidency.

Perry also took a couple of opportunities to talk about the border and his experience trying to secure it.

He mentioned confronting President Barack Obama on a Texas tarmac in 2014 about the issue.

“The border is still porous,” he said in the debate.

No one else running for the GOP nomination has experience on the border, he said.

He called for more military personnel on the border in strategic  places, construction of some walls, installation of cameras and “quick response teams.”

Update 5:09 p.m.

Several of the candidates — including Perry — pledged to rescind all of Obama’s executive orders.

“I’m going to take a bottle of white out with me,” Perry said.

Update 5:18 p.m.

Perry touted a few times that he oversaw the 12th largest economy in the world in Texas.

He said from the stage that Texas saw 1.5 million jobs created, while the rest of U.S. lost 400,000 jobs, in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

“We can do it in America,” he said. “Our best days are ahead of us.”

Pounding on his experience as a governor, Perry promised to bring growth back the country.

“Nobody has done it like Rick Perry has done it,” Perry said.

Update 5:20 p.m.

At the early debate of the second-tier candidates, there were no major stumbles.

But none of the GOP candidates managed to stand out.

However, Fiorina is being discussed in the moments after the debate by Fox News commentators as an articulate and knowledgeable candidate.

And Graham is being discussed as having the guts to take a possibly controversial position on foreign policy by saying more than once that the U.S. needs to put more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and send soldiers to Syria, to fight radical Islamic forces.

Updated 5:28 p.m.

Conservative Fox News commentator George Will gave Perry his props, especially compared with his failed run last time.

“He’s a much better candidate now,” Will said, noting that Perry had been recovering from back surgery during the last campaign.

Perry came off in a “decisive and informed way,” Will said.

Follow live: Prime-time GOP debate including Ted Cruz, Donald Trump

The eyes of the political world will be on the first 2016 Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox News.

The finishing touches are made to the stage for the Republican presidential debate at The Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign season.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The finishing touches are made to the stage for the Republican presidential debate at The Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign season. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The prime-time debate is limited to the 10 candidates faring the best in an average of recent national polls. They are real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

They will be questioned by Fox News anchors Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier.

 

Updated 10:11 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush played it safe Thursday night and may have appeared the most presidential even if he offered no memorable moments in the Donald Trump-dominated debate of the top candidates for the GOP nomination for president.

Seeking to be the third Bush president, the son of George H.W. Bush, brother of George W. Bush (and father of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush) avoided pitfalls and delivered a simple message. He told a lively audience in a Cleveland arena that he wants to unite America with a hopeful and optimistic message.

Other candidates — including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — struggled to be remembered. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson even joked about his dearth of camera time.

He later earned applause by talking about forces in the world who want to divide Americans.

“We shouldn’t let them do it,” Carson said.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tried to leave an impression by sparing with Trump and talking about eliminating aid to America’s enemies and sparring with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over domestic spying.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a risk when he was asked about what he would do if his son or daughter was gay. He announced that he recently attended a gay wedding and, of course, he would unconditionally love his children — gay or straight. He seemed pleased with his answer as he smiled after his words. The Ohio audience cheered.

Cruz earned applause for his talk about his deep Christian faith. He also had some tough talk on radical Islam.

He said he rejected the notion that the nation needs to make sure young men in the Middle East are not susceptible to Islamic State recruiting.

If you sign up, he said: “You are signing your death warrant.”

But for all the serious efforts of the candidates chasing Trump in the polls, the night likely will be remembered for the reality TV star’s involvement.

The debate began with predicable showmanship by the famous businessman. With his trademark squint, Trump started the night by refusing to say he wouldn’t run as an independent if he loses the nomination.

Trump maintained the limelight as he made jokes about his much publicized feud with actress Rosie O’Donnell after Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked him about disparaging remarks he has made about women. Trump ultimately answered the question by saying he rejects political correctness.

When Trump spoke a bit later, he took credit for bringing the issues of immigration and border security to the Republican race.

He also doubled down on earlier comments that the Mexican government was sending criminals to the U.S., saying that people he knows have told him about the influx of people, citing a recent half-day trip to Laredo.

Mexican government officials are cunning, Trump said.

“They send the bad ones over” because they know that “stupid leaders” in the U.S. will take care of them.

Later, The Trump Show continued when a moderator asked about his political donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, The Donald replied simply: “I give to everybody.”

Some of the other candidates on the stage took his money, and others joked that they would be happy to accept a check from him now.

Trump explained that it made strategic sense to give broadly.

“When I need something from them, ” he said, “they are there for me.”

Trump was later asked about his businesses having filed for bankruptcy four times.

He seemed to take offense to the question and noted that it was his businesses that filed for the protection that left his creditors unpaid, and it was not a personal bankruptcy.

“I have used the laws of the country,” Trump said, to benefit him, his family and his employees.

 

Updated 8:12 p.m.

Donald Trump responding to a question about disparaging comments he made about women: “I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness.”

Updated 8:17 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz said in the debate that if voters want someone who will get in bed with special interests, then they should look elsewhere. Leaders need to honor their commitments, he said.

Updated 8:34 p.m.

The debate of the top 1- candidates for the GOP nomination of the presidency began with predicable showmanship by billionaire businessman Donald Trump. With his trademark squint, Trump was the only candidate to refuse to say he wouldn’t run as an independent if he loses the nomination.

Trump maintained the limelight as he made jokes about his much publicized feud with access Rosie O’Donnell after Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked him about disparaging remarks he has made about women.

Some serious discussion sneaked into the Trump show, too.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said if voters want someone who will get in bed with special interests, then:  “I ain’t your guy.”

Leaders need to honor their commitments, he said.

U.S. Rand Paul of Kentucky talked about the Islamic State and the need to stop sending money and equipment to the radical Islamists’ allies.

Then, the tone changed when Trump spoke again and took credit for bringing the issues of immigration and border security to the Republican race.

He also doubled down on earlier comments that the Mexican government was sending criminals to the U.S., saying that people he knows have told him that, citing a recent half-day trip to Laredo.

Mexican government officials are cunning, Trump said.

“They send the bad ones over” because they know that “stupid leaders” in the U.S. will take care of them.

Updated 8:51 p.m.

On radical Islam, Cruz called said he didn’t believe the rhetoric he has heard about how to fight the Islamic State.  He said he never believed that America needs to change the conditions on the ground to make sure young men are not susceptible to ISIS recruiting.

If you sign up, he said: “You are signing your death warrant.”

Updated 8:54 p.m.

The Trump Show continued.

When asked about his political donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, The Donald replied simply: “I give to everybody.”

Some of the other candidates took his money, and others joked that they would be happy to accept a check from him now.

Trump explained that it made strategic sense to give broadly.

“When I need something from them, ” he said, “they are there for me.”

Updated 9:20 p.m.

Trump was asked about his businesses having filed for bankruptcy four times.

He seemed to take offense to the question and noted that it was his businesses that filed for the protection that left his creditors unpaid, and it was not a personal bankruptcy.

“I have used the laws of the country,” Trump said, to benefit him, his family and his employees.

He has been celebrated for his business acumen, Trump said.

 

 

Perry’s posse: A viewer’s guide to the undercard’s `magnificent seven’

Good morning Austin:

Here we go.

The 2016 presidential campaign well and truly gets underway today with the two Fox Republican debates in Cleveland.

All 17 candidates have announced.

We have some idea how much money each has to work with.

Now, they have to appear on stage together and answer some questions.

Actually, not all at the same time on the same stage

Because there are 17 of them, Fox, with the blessing of the Republican National Committee, divided them into two separate debates.

There is the two-hour prime time affair at 8 p.m. our time, featuring the ten candidates doing the best in the polls, beginning with Donald Trump.

Thus, this is the Trump debate.

The other will take place at 4 in the afternoon our time, that ratings no-man’s land that hasn’t been the same since Mike Douglas went off the air.

If you are watching TV at 4, your life is off track and probably has been off track for quite some time.

Which is why I am devoting today’s First Reading to offering a viewer’s guide to the 4 p.m. debate.

Also because I am, and always have been, a sucker for the underdog, the odd duck and the hopeless cases.

And also because, somehow, Rick Perry found himself center square for the 4 p.m. debate when his polling numbers slipped, making him unlucky number 11 in the standings.

If the main event is the Trump show, we will call the earlier event the Perry show.

Without further ado, here we go.

JIM GILMORE

Yes. Jim Gilmore.

First clue.

He was governor of Virginia.

A while ago.

Here, from a 1999 profile by Garrett Epps in the Washington Post.

With his high sidewall haircut and two-tone glasses, Jim Gilmore was — well, in today’s terms, a band geek. His entry in the 1967 yearbook of J.R. Tucker High School lists him as student band director, drum major of the marching band, president of the concert band, and a member of the All-County, the All-Regional and the All-Student USA bands. “All I did in high school was play music,” he recalls.

But the All-Student USA Band marked a turning point. When the time came to parcel out the solos, Gilmore came up against another clarinetist who literally blew him away. “This guy was so effortless, because he was truly gifted,” Gilmore recalls. And he realized that he would never be that good, or even close. For Jim Gilmore, that was the day the music died.

 What took its place was politics. Gilmore’s Key Club adviser asked him to help get out the vote with door-to-door canvassing. “I wasn’t old enough to vote but I was influencing so many others to vote,” he recalls. “Suddenly I was on.”

“Being a Young Republican then,” Stan Maupin says, “tempered you like steel.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.38.12 AM

And, from a Washington Post story by Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman in December:

He got elected governor in 1997 by promising to eliminate the car tax. In 2000, he helped candidate George W. Bush win Virginia’s crucial 2000 Republican presidential primary. The grateful Bush made Gilmore head of the Republican National Committee. This should have been a stepping stone to national recognition for the ambitious Gilmore.

Instead it exposed the fatal flaw in Mr. Gilmore’s political persona: egomania. Gilmore quickly made himself persona non-grata in the White House. A forced resignation soon followed. Despite the embarrassment, Gilmore declared for president in 2007. His bizarre candidacy quickly collapsed. Undaunted, the pugnacious Gilmore then challenged popular ex-governor Mark Warner in the 2008 Senate race after narrowly — and controversially — winning the GOP nomination. The result: Gilmore lost by 31 points on Election Day.

From a recent NPR report on Gilmore:

The one-term governor faces long odds in a crowded field, especially after being absent from the national political stage for much of the past decade. The former state attorney general was elected governor of the Old Dominion (which is the only state that still restricts its chief executives to one term.) While in office, he served as chairman of the Republican National Committee for one year in 2001 before resigning after a rocky relationship with the Bush White House, coupled with dual losses for Republicans to succeed him that year and in New Jersey.

(note: Gilmore was governor of Virginia on 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.)

 

GEORGE PATAKI

Well, he beat Mario Cuomo to be elected governor of New York and feuded with Rudy Giuliani. Like Gilmore, he was governor on 9/11.

He is 6 ft. 5 inches tall, and his middle name is Elmer. He has a tendency to speak out of the right corner of his mouth.

 

George Pataki speaking Spanish out of the side of his mouth at his announcement for president in New Hampshire
George Pataki speaking Spanish out of the side of his mouth at his announcement for president in New Hampshire

Why does he speak out of the side of his mouth?

I don’t know, but here is one theory from the comments under the YouTube of his announcement:

Paul Interics 2 months ago
The reason George talks out of the side of his mouth, is because he’s talking out of the side of his mouth.

Here’s Pataki’s full speech.

Pataki’s real problem – why his campaign is “virtually hopeless” according to Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight – is that he is simply too liberal. As in more liberal than Chris Christie, and even more liberal than Richard “I created the EPA” Nixon.

From Enten:

Ideologically, he’s an old-school Republican (i.e., liberal) running in a modern GOP (i.e., very conservative). He is more moderate than any recent Republican nominee and is the most moderate candidate in the 2016 Republican field, according to our aggregated ideological scores.1 Pataki is, among other things, in favor of abortion rights. He’s somewhat of an environmentalist.

By the way, according Enten’s chart, Ted Cruz is the most conservative candidate in the race, more conservative than Barry Goldwater was, and way more conservative than Ronald Reagan ever was.

CARLY FIORINA

Here is an introduction to Carly Fiorina from Fox.

Fiorina’s credentials include the fact that she was born in Austin, that she was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and that she ran and lost for the U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer in California, though she did win a Republican primary in which she ran what may be the most bizarre ad in U.S. political history – the demon sheep ad.

As for HP, perhaps I should recuse myself from covering Fiorina because I owned HP stock. Suffice to say, Apple proved a better investment.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.32.22 AM

I think it is fair to say that, while she would accept the presidency, Fiorina is, for all practical purposes, running for vice president. This is not a novel thought.

Here is Liz Mair at the Daily Beast, who has advised Fiorina in the past, pushing back against this sexist claptrap:

The former CEO is attracting crowds and plenty of attention. So why isn’t the political class taking her seriously?

Political devotees and insiders all seem convinced that Carly Fiorina is only running for vice president. Big-donor types say it. Consultants say it. Members of the media say it. Grassroots activists say it. Republicans of all stripes, and all kinds of people who cover them and opine on them, say it.

And they’re all wrong.

The widespread idea that Carly has set her sights on the VP slot is both irritating and eyebrow raising, especially when it’s voiced by women’s-advancement-oriented female devotees of the word “feminism.”

It is true that I am an unapologetic Carly fan, who has worked with her and consulted for her in the context of prior campaigns. It is true that I do not approach this from an unbiased standpoint.

It is also true that at the end of the day, Carly may very well not be the nominee of the Republican Party in 2016. Only one out of what seems like a gazillion GOP candidates will get that honor, and everyone else will collect their bags and go home.

But what is also true is that, in countless conversations about her and the field at large, I have yet to hear a single person say of any male candidate that they are “only running for vice president.” This is despite the fact that only a couple of prospective or actual candidates appear on paper to have, as of right now, the ability to actually win the nomination, or indeed present themselves as viable vice presidential contenders should they fall short.

All right then. I’ll say it.

BOBBY JINDAL

In my view, Bobby Jindal is “only running for vice president.” Yeah sure, like Fiorina, Jindal will accept the presidency, but for all practical purposes, he has no path to the White House this time around.

But running for president is not a bad way to advertise your availability to be vice president, get to know and ingratiate yourself with the ultimate nominee, get picked, get elected veep and maybe eventually end up president.

Worked, so far, for Joe Biden, who was not a really credible candidate for president when he ran in 2008, but ended up with something to show for it nonetheless.

And, if not vice president, there’s always the Cabinet.

Jindal also stars in this truly bizarre BuzzFeed video, a high-concept masterpiece in which the high concept is that Jindal is going to enter into a pushup contest against his most ardent foes.

Those foes are 1) taxes,

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.27.33 PM

2) Obamacare,

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.29.55 PM

3) Hyphenated-Americans,

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.31.41 PM

And 4)  “The fiercest challenger today, Gov. Jindal’s very own 2009  State of the Union Response speech. These two have a history and it’s not pretty.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 4.49.17 AM

 

Here it is in its entirety.

Watch it and then we can talk.

It seems to me if Bobby Jindal ever becomes president, graduate students across a variety of disciplines – politics, media studies, communication and psychology – will be doing dissertations explaining this single video.

Here is an Indian-American – strike that, an American of Indian ancestry – governor, whose slender physique bears resemblance to the 97-pound weakling before answering Charles Atlas’s ad, entering into a display of physical strength in competition with those things he hates most about the world and about himself

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 5.08.18 AM

To repeat, in the video, Jindal proceeds to perform an impressive 30 or 40 pushups, without loosening his necktie, in competition with some fine physical specimens representing taxes, Obamacare, hyphenated-Americans and his own very poorly received State of the Union response, though, in fact, it wasn’t the State of the Union response at all, because Obama had just become president and was simply delivering his first speech to a joint session of Congress, and not a State of the Union address.

But, never mind, here from Shaila Dewan in the New York Times:

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has been a rising star in the Republican Party, but his stock took a hit as he was roundly panned for his televised response to President Obama’s first speech to Congress on Tuesday night.

Conservative commentators were among the harshest critics, calling Mr. Jindal’s delivery animatronic, his prose “cheesy” and his message — that federal spending is not the answer to the nation’s economic problems — uninspired.

Mr. Jindal, 37, the son of Indian immigrants, has been regarded as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 who would bring diversity and youth to a post-Obama Republican Party.

But the speech raised questions.

“This was the moment for him to seize the mantle with new ideas, new direction, and lay the groundwork for himself as a creative new thinker,” said Thomas Schaller, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “He just used old platitudes and party clichés.”

Laura Ingraham, the talk radio host; David Brooks, the New York Times columnist; and Juan Williams of Fox News were among Mr. Jindal’s unimpressed reviewers in television commentary, while Rush Limbaugh defended the governor on his radio show. Several commentators noted that response speeches, in which a designated member of the opposition party delivers a short, canned speech with no live audience, have often been a recipe for failure.

“He went in there with high expectations, probably too high for any politician,” said David Johnson, a Republican political strategist. “Republicans are looking for a voice to lead them out of the wilderness.”

Still, Mr. Johnson said, “it was a flop.”

I remember the speech all too well. I covered it for the New Orleans Times Picayune, even though I was in the Washington bureau and the speech was delivered in Baton Rouge. The reason I covered it was because it was delivered Mardi Gras Day and every other reporter in Louisiana who might have covered it wasn’t about to work that day.

(The speech began: “Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras. I’m Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana.”)

In any case, the speech was sufficiently late and my deadline sufficiently early that I had to file my story, based on an advanced text, within minutes of Jindal beginning his speech.

In other words, it was kind of like filing a story on the Hindenberg flyover just a few minutes too early.

As I recall, once he started speaking, I had only time enough to put a single line up high in the story, based on the opening of Jindal’s speech, that his delivery seemed a bit awkward.

Oh the humanity.

OK.

Maybe you think I am making too much of it. But it’s not me. It is Jindal who, now embarked on a candidacy for president six years later, stars in a video which has him engaged in a pushup contest with very fit looking black man who represents Jindal’s own personal failure at the moment that was supposed to be his big break but ended up his greatest setback.

And here’s the truly inexplicable kicker: While Jindal out-pushups Taxes, Obamacare and Hypehanted-Americans, he takes a knee and is defeated, outlasted, out-pushupped by SOTU Response.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.39.01 PM

As the commentator on the video says: “Jindal’s knees are on the mat. Jindal’s knees are on the mat. It’s over.”

In other words, Jindal (who as a young man wrote about being involved in something like an actual exorcism), has yet to exorcise the personal demon of that flubbed speech from 2009.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.37.01 PM

Oh, the humanity.

As it happens, I started working for the Times-Picayune in August 2008 and my first assignment was to cover the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, which nominated John McCain for president.

Jindal was a very hot property, and, when he couldn’t attend the convention because he had to do battle with Hurricane Gustav, he became an even hotter property – a virtual action hero.

From Peter Whoriskey at the Washington Post:

BATON ROUGE, Sept. 2 — He talks about “helo assets,” military-speak for helicopters. He delivers recovery statistics rapid-fire. And in a nod to local sporting passions, he frequently resorts to football analogies.

“The evacuation was the pregame,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced at a press conference Tuesday, appearing calm and unruffled amid the commotion of Hurricane Gustav. “We’re not yet at halftime. We have a lot more work ahead of us.”

Thrust in the spotlight by Gustav, Jindal, 37, a political whiz kid in office for all of eight months, is asserting mastery over his state’s response to the natural disaster — just the sort that can have serious consequences for politicians.

Three years ago, Jindal’s predecessor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D), sometimes seemed overwhelmed by Hurricane Katrina, nervous and frowning before the cameras. Her popularity slumped afterward, and she chose not to run for reelection.

Now Jindal, a rising star in the Republican Party whose name was once bandied about as a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), is at the helm as Louisiana weathers Gustav. He had been scheduled to address the Republican National Convention but canceled his plans as the storm loomed.

“Bobby Jindal has been pitch perfect during Gustav,” said Douglas Brinkley, who wrote “The Great Deluge,” which describes the chaos after Katrina. “He promised to be a hands-on administrator, and I think he delivered. He had such an easy factual grasp of the situation. It’s almost the exact opposite of Blanco and [New Orleans Mayor C. Ray] Nagin during Katrina.”

Now, imagine, if you will, if McCain, desperate to make a bold move to compete with Obama in the general election, had chosen to pluck the young and brainy Jindal as his running-mate instead of the even bolder but not quite as brainy Sarah Palin.

Perhaps, had McCain chosen Jindal he would be completing his second term as president and Vice President Jindal would have a clear field to nomination as his party’s candidate for president.

But, alas, it was not to be and Jindal, who was at the high ebb of his popularity back home back then and is now at the low ebb, will be on the 4 p.m. stage.

Meanwhile, here is a hidden camera video his campaign released early on in which he tells his children he is going to be running for president, that they are going to be spending a lot of time in Iowa, but swearing them to secrecy.

 

LINDSEY GRAHAM

Now comes McCain’s running buddy  Lindsey Graham, who, it seems to me, is most clearly emulating the Joe Biden path to the vice presidency.

Been around for a very long time. Very likeable. Kind of goofy.

From the Washington Post’s 5 Things you should know about Lindsey Graham.

Number 5:

He has never sent an email.

Earlier this year, Graham made headlines when he quipped that he had “never sent” an email, despite 12 years as a U.S. senator and eight as a representative before that. The comment, which quickly went viral, came in response to a question by NBC’s Chuck Todd in a discussion about Hillary Clinton’s use of a home-based email server while serving as secretary of state.

Asked if he had a private email account, Graham told Todd: “I don’t email. No, you can have every email I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.”

Graham does, however, regularly carry a cellphone. But don’t expect him to wade into the iPhone vs. Android debate anytime soon. His device of choice is a flip phone.

Ah yes, Lindsey Graham’s flip phone.

From Nick Gass and Adam B. Lerner at Politico:

If Lindsey Graham has to change cellphone numbers, he has Donald Trump to thank.

On Tuesday, Trump ramped up his attacks on the South Carolina senator — who made headlines Monday for calling the Donald a “jackass” — and even gave out Graham’s private phone number.

Trump began his rambling diatribe by calling Graham a “lightweight” and an “idiot.”

“He doesn’t seem like a very bright guy. He actually probably seems to me not as bright as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry probably is smarter than Lindsey Graham,” Trump added, riffing on prior insults he had lobbed at the former Texas governor.

Then Trump transitioned to an embarrassing anecdote, which the billionaire real estate developer said was from a few years ago, in which Graham called Trump “begging” him for a good reference with Trump’s pals on the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends.”

Trump said that he promised Graham he would put out a good word, and the South Carolina Republican then gave him his phone number to follow up.

Trump then read out what he said was Graham’s phone number, telling his supporters to “try it.”

Well, as you no doubt know, a grateful Graham seized the moment and made a video in which he destroyed a number of flip phones in answer to Trump.

 

 

RICK SANTORUM

That brings us to Rick Santorum who, alone among the magnificent seven, offered a sour response to being excluded from the prime time debate.

From the Washington Times:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says that limiting the first GOP debate to 10 candidates in a “disservice to the American public.”

Mr. Santorum failed to qualify for the prime-time affair, which Fox News capped at 10 participants based on five national polls.

“If I was the Republican party, I would be boasting about our riches, not trying to cull the field by debate rules,” Mr. Santorum said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mr. Santorum is taking part in a 5 p.m. forum along with the other candidates that failed to get a ticket to the main event at 9 p.m.

He said that all 17 GOP presidential candidates should have the chance to participate in the prime-time event, which is expected to be watched by millions of voters.

“That way you would … let the public decide who the best candidate is,” he said.

I feel Santorum’s pain. It’s like he’s stuck in some game of Chutes and Ladders. He has an incredible run of ladders in 2012, and then he hits an unbelievable chute and he’s back to square one, as if 2012 never happened.

From Santorum’s campaign site:

Rick Santorum was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2012 and became known as a voice for conservatives who didn’t feel their voice was being represented. His grassroots approach to campaigning – including visiting every one of Iowa’s 99 counties and his stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses – catapulted him to frontrunner status where he ultimately won 11 states and nearly 4 million votes during the Republican primary process.

Here from Esquire is Charles Pierce’s unkind take on Santorum’s lack of gratitude for being included in the undercard:

Maybe we should take The Other Seven all out to Burger King for lunch. To their credit, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore are embracing the suck with something resembling enthusiasm because, really, what else have they got? Carly Fiorina has made peace with the fact that she can’t lay off every pollster in America. But Rick Santorum’s camp is not taking this lying down.  No, sir. Not for a moment.

Santorum spokesman Matt Beynon called it “incredibly flawed,” based on national polls that are “meaningless” this early in the campaign. “The idea that they have left out the runner-up for the 2012 nomination (Santorum), the former 4-term Governor of Texas (Perry), the Governor of Louisiana (Jindal), the first female Fortune 50 CEO (Fiorina), and the 3-term Senator from South Carolina (Graham) due to polling 7 months before a single vote is cast is preposterous,” Beynon said in a statement.
 
OK, first of all, 2012 Runner-Up is not an official title of any kind, especially when you’re polling in the low single-digits at the moment. Second, when was it determined that Rick Santorum would be the shining knight defending the honor of The Other Seven? Was there a vote among them in which he finished, you know, second? Lord, have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick Rick Santorum is?

If he had the sense of humor god gave a stone, Santorum would realize that the undercard debate actually is a second chance to launch a campaign – an unprecedented kind of political repechage heat. And, with Donald Trump threatening to turn the Main Event into an extended exercise in human sacrifice, it is possible that the earlier debate could turn out to be the more dignified and substantial of the two. (In fact, that’s going to be the easiest way to spin the whole evening, especially if Trump runs wild. I can already hear my man Chuck Todd expressing his surprise at how “substantive” the first debate was. Hell, he thinks this is the most formidable Republican field since 1980.) Fiorina seems to get this. So does Huckleberry J. Butchmeup, who’s the one responsible for cleverly renaming the lid-lifter the “Happy Hour Debate.” That Santorum is raising a fuss over missing the cut shows a desperate lack of both imagination and wit.

The same cannot be said of our boy, Rick Perry.

After all, what’s Santorum whining about?

Perry entered the race last time an almost instant front-runner.

He blew it – oops and all – but handled it with grace and humor.

Now he’s back, running for president while under indictment (one count down, but still one to go). Is he still wrestling with demons of past failures a la Jindal’s pushup contest? No. (Well, he did challenge Donald Trump to a pullup contest, but that’s different.)

Perry knows what America is looking for is a confident, optimistic leader as its next president.

Or vice president.

Or president.

From Erica Greider at Texas Monthly on Why Rick Perry Can Still Win the Republican Nomination.

Perry was among the candidates jostling around the 10th place position, it wasn’t clear until yesterday whether he would make the cut. The news that he wouldn’t was, for many pundits, just one more piece of evidence for what appears to be the conventional wisdom: Perry’s presidential prospects are as grim as a snowball’s chance of surviving Texas in August.

I disagree. Perry’s non-inclusion in the main debate isn’t even proof of his current standing in the polls based on the margin of error; Sarah Rumpf explains the math, over at Breitbart. I would hardly call it a referendum on his candidacy. Of the ten candidates on the main stage, only seven strike me as “serious candidates” in the sense that they are sincerely running for the Republican presidential nomination (see my special bonus section below for an explanation). The cumulative talent is roughly the same on both stages. Looking at the field as it stands, with 17 declared candidates, I think Perry has a pretty good chance of ending up among the top three candidates after all the delegates are counted. And if I were to place a bet on the eventual nominee today, I’d put my money on him.

 

 

 

Seth Meyers really, really wants Rick Perry to be a part of the GOP debate

Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaks during a luncheon hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at the the Yale Club in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaks during a luncheon hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at the the Yale Club in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“Late Night” host and comedian Seth Meyers really, really wants Fox News to let Rick Perry join in on the upcoming GOP debate.

Due to the rather large number of Republican candidates in the primary this year (seventeen in all), Fox has capped their Aug. 6 televised debate at ten participants. Only the ten Republicans who polled highest in the last five national polls will be given screen time, according to the Washington Post.

Rick Perry, three-time Texas governor and two-time presidential candidate, is straddling the cut-off point to make the debate, and Meyers was not happy about it. On Monday night, Meyers pleaded with Fox to let Perry debate.

Meyers introduced a new segment to “Late Night” titled, “Free Rick Perry,” where he begged the question, “How can you not have Rick Perry at your debate?”

“It’s gonna be a fun debate no matter what,” Meyers said. “But there is currently one candidate who is on the bubble and if he was in the debate it would make it so much more fun.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs-up to supporters after announcing the launch of his presidential campaign for the 2016 elections, Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Addison, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs-up to supporters after announcing the launch of his presidential campaign for the 2016 elections, Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Addison, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

To prove his point, Meyers provided clips of Perry’s infamous “oops” moment at a 2011 presidential debate, as well as Perry’s 2005 “adios, mofo” sign-off.

Meyers also pointed out that Perry recently challenged fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump to a pull-up contest. “They could actually get into a fight on stage,” he said.

According to Mediaite, Perry is currently in 11th place, right behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The only way Perry could make the cut and be featured in the debate is if Fox opts to round up Perry’s average, which would tie him with Kasich, according to Mediaite’s report.

The Washington Post also reported that Fox will be airing additional coverage and air time on Aug. 6 to the GOP candidates who do not make it into the top ten slots.

For more coverage of the upcoming GOP debate, click here, or take a walk down memory lane with Perry’s six most viral moments.

Watch Ted Cruz cook bacon on the muzzle of a gun

There are 462 days left until the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and we’re already in the candidates-using-deadly-weapons-to-cook-breakfast-food phase of the campaign. Seems a little early in the cycle this time, doesn’t it?

(Screenshot via IJReview's YouTube)
(Screenshot via IJReview’s YouTube)

Recalling that time that Michael Dukakis whipped up a frittata with a bazooka in ’88*, as well as Dwight Eisenhower’s signature preparation of bayonet-sliced hasbrowns**, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas demonstrated a creative, culinary use of firepower in a video for website IJReview, uploaded to YouTube on Monday.

Watch the presidential candidate cook bacon using the muzzle of a gun below. Spoiler: He eats the bacon.

Though the title of the video touts Cruz’s creative kitchen utensil as a machine gun, Mashable points out that it is actually a semi-automatic.

Cruz is no stranger to viral videos. In June, the senator performed his best impressions of characters from “The Simpsons” for BuzzFeed.

*This did not happen.

**This did not happen either, but seems slightly more realistic.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s mugshot released

After concern of a delay earlier Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was booked in Collin County after he was indicted last week on securities violations. His booking photo was soon posted online.

Photo via collincountytx.gov
Photo via collincountytx.gov

The details of Paxton’s booking can be found at the Collin County inmate search page.

As the Statesman’s Jonathan Tilove pointed out, Paxton’s booking photo will inevitably be compared to that of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was booked into the Travis County criminal justice system last year after surrendering to sheriff’s deputies. The governor was indicted Aug. 15, 2014, on two felony charges stemming from his efforts to force Travis County District Attorney Lehmberg to resign from office following her drunken driving arrest.

Perry’s mugshot famously took on a life of its own, spawning a flood of Internet memes. Perry’s own PAC even started selling T-shirts featuring the photo.

One example of the memes that emerged surrounding former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's viral mugshot.
One example of the memes that emerged surrounding former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s viral mugshot.

» RELATED PHOTOS: 17 must-see Rick Perry mug shot memes «

How will social media react to Paxton’s booking photo? Stay tuned.

RELATED STORIES

Bryan Hughes on Paxton: `Ken is squeaky clean, he’s a straight shooter’

Good morning Austin:

Rick Perry, the last statewide official to be indicted – just very slightly shy of a year ago – set an impossibly high bar for the panache he bought to the booking process. The incomparably beautiful, confident mug shot. The post-booking summer treat of a carefree custard at Sandy’s.

Perfection.

 

Mug shot art by SABO
Mug shot art by SABO

 

So pity Ken Paxton, the attorney general of the state of Texas, as he faced his own booking gantlet, but whose style, such as it is, is panache-free.

Paxton’s style is more shambling everyman.

Here is his mug shot:

Photo via collincountytx.gov
Photo via collincountytx.gov

(note: it is usual for the left side of the face to look different from the right side, but it seems to me Paxton’s left and right sides are exceptionally different.)

News of Paxton’s indictment came over the weekend, and also missing, so far, has been an outpouring of public statements from Paxton’s fellow statewide elected officials – Republicans all – or other name Republicans, rushing to his defense, though maybe that is yet to come.

 

Ken Paxton JAY JANNER/AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN
Ken Paxton
JAY JANNER/AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN

In the meantime, I spoke last night with Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, a close friend and political ally of Paxton. Here is our exchange:

Bryan Hughes:

So in The New York Times on Saturday you can read about the sealed indictment, but the guy who has been accused still doesn’t know what the charges  are. It’s pretty bad

Apparently this prosecutor, Kent Schaffer, has released all this information to them that is supposed to be in a sealed indictment, so you really have to question how one can get a fair trial when the prosecutor is releasing information to the media before the first court hearing.

It seems to me these special prosecutors have an interest in dragging this out, building their own name ID and also running the meter. This case goes forward, it goes to trial, the longer it goes the better for them, they get billings for it and they got the taxpayer’s guaranteed ATM paying for them.

This could have been referred to another  district attorney in a neighboring county or even elsewhere in Texas, who’s already being paid to do it, where the infrastructure that is already there. Not only would that have saved the taxpayers money, but an existing district attorney has procedures and policies in place to keep things like this from happening, talking to the media about a sealed indictment.

FR: Paxton is a conspicuously poor speaker. He doesn’t have a very dynamic presence. What is the secret of his appeal?

BRYAN HUGHES:

When Ken speaks to a group of people there is a real connection, and I’ve seen it many, many times. He and I have spent a lot of time together, we’ve campaigned together and when Ken meets someone or when he addresses a group, people feel a real connection to him. They know he’s genuine and people perceive that he’s a fighter and obviously, even in his short time as attorney general, we’ve seen that, you know dealing with  federal government – or I should say fighting back against the federal government –  environmental overreach, obviously on the Supreme Court decision redefining marriage. I think people sense Ken is real. He means what he says. And they can trust him.

FR: How much of tea party loyalty for Paxton dates back to his willingness to challenge Joe Straus for speaker in 2011, though he withdrew before his name was placed in nomination.

BRYAN HUGHES:

Yes, 2010 was the first  midterm election after President Obama was elected, a big tea party wave swept almost a two-thirds majority of Republican into the Texas House and you had all these people who were getting involved for the first time and they were succeeding, they were electing like-minded people, so when Ken  took that position and filed to run for speaker, people noticed that.

I was going to give the closing argument. I was on deck to do that.

FR: How did you get to know Paxton:

 BRYAN HUGHES:

We met during the campaign in 2002. In 2002, Ken was elected in a new Collin County district and his race was in the primary. In Collin County once you won the Republican primary you were in. My race was in the fall. I was in a swing district at the time, so I didn’t have a primary opponent but I had a Democratic opponent.

 We met, had a lot of mutual friends, the same groups and conservative leaders were backing both of us and so we figured out we were pretty like-minded so that led us to becoming friends and rooming together. We roomed together every session but one, different apartments each time.

Believe it or not our first session, 2003, Ken Paxton, Bryan Hughes, Byron Cook. The three of us, our first session. We all came in together. There were 37 of us in that class. Dan Branch was in that class, so was Glenn Hegar. Big class. Big group.

FR: Speaking of Cook, there’s this from the New York Times story:

The most serious charges, first-degree securities fraud, Mr. Paxton is accused of misleading investors in a technology company, Servergy Inc., which is based in McKinney, his hometown. He is accused of encouraging the investors in 2011 to put more than $600,000 into Servergy while failing to tell them he was making a commission on their investment, and misrepresenting himself as an investor in the company, said Kent A. Schaffer, one of the two special prosecutors handling the case. The group of investors were Mr. Paxton’s friends and included a colleague in the Texas House, Representative Byron Cook.

BRYAN HUGHES:

I read that in that New York Times article. That was interesting.

(FR note: I suspect for many Paxton fans, bilking Cook would only make them love him more.)

FR: What are you hearing from folks in your district about the indictment?

BRYAN HUGHES:

The people who have talked to me chalked it up to politics. They see it as a politically driven attack on Ken, which is what it is. I think the reason we haven’t seen a lot of public comment  on it from other officeholders is, again, we don’t know what the charges are.

FR: Paxton signed a confession to the State Securities Board last year, resulting in  a reprimand and a $1,000 administrative fine. Was that process political, or is it the subsequent criminal prosecution that smacks of politics?

BRYAN HUGHES:

Certainly pursuing it beyond (the civil penalty.) From what I’ve read, once the Securities Board issues a civil penalty like that, that’s the end of the matter. A criminal prosecution like this doesn’t follow. From what I’ve read this is unprecedented. So yes, I would say pursuing it, trying to make something else out of it, I think that’s what people see as politics.

 From what I’ve read, and from what I understand reading the documents, this was a clerical matter, the Securities Board dealt with it –  a civil fine. That says a lot, sort of suggests that it is not a criminal violation.

And for what it’s worth, you’ll recall that was the spring of 2014, it came up and Ken’s opponents in the primary went to great lengths to use that to beat him over the head with that, and you’ll see how the voters responded. They gave Ken a resounding victory in the primary and in the fall.

FR: All of the statewides are pretty like-minded. Why would Paxton be a particular target?

BRYAN HUGHES:

I think we’d have to say that Ken has been out front, he’s taken the lead, and when you’re out front you’re going to get shot at.

FR: As someone close to Paxton, this must be painful to watch unfold.

BRYAN HUGHES:

Ken is a friend and he is squeaky clean. Yes, it’s really troubling to see him drug through this. We’re thankful for the Constitution and the American justice system and he’s going to be vindicated, but you can ask Tom DeLay or Rick Perry, who’s still got one left to deal with, it can be along and expensive process, but Ken is going to be vindicated. Ken is squeaky clean, he’s  a straight shooter. I hate that he has to go through this but I’m confident that he’s going to come out on top.

ON THE OTHER HAND

Meanwhile, here is a somewhat (very) different take on all this from Glenn Smith, a longtime Democratic operative and director of the Progress Texas PAC.

GLENN SMITH:

I think there’s plenty more to look at going forward.

There are a lot of curious questions about this. He publicly admits to a felony during the 2014 campaign.

(note: Paxton spokesman Anthony Holm to WFAA: “The Securities Board was very clear this was no crime.It was resolved last spring. It was a civil event. It was a $1,000 fine. And we are only here because of liberal activists.”)

Why didn’t anybody (on the Republican ticket) do anything. They just ignored it

Dan Branch tried not to ignore it but he couldn’t get the attention.

It was just like they were going to give him a pass and I think that needs to be explored. I’m talking about how the law required the Securities Board to refer it to a DA and/or the attorney general. (Governor, then Attorney General Greg) Abbott can’t say he didn’t know anything about it because the confession, as it were, was signed and made public. There are just a lot of questions that have not been answered.

xxxxxxxx

 

Republicans have to be a little bit hesitant about rushing to his defense because he has confessed to one of the felonies and these other two serious first degree felonies, we don’t know what they are.

It’s different than Perry. One you don’t have a Rosemary Lehmberg to run against and, two, they don’t have $2 million to spend on a public relations campaign.

Poster by SABO http://unsavoryagents.com/
Poster by SABO
http://unsavoryagents.com/

 

So he can’t fight back (in the same way.) And three, this was the Texas Rangers and Collin County so he can’t claim a political with hunt. So I think you are going to find Republicans are going to be more standoffish because it looks worse and it’s coming at the beginning of his term. And I think their silence speaks volumes.

If he’s forced to resign it’s going to be Republicans forcing him out. Remember there’s still a federal investigation underway.

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.06.37 PM

Honestly, I think he has to talk to the press. Now that he’s indicted, it’s just going to look terrible if he did what he did during the campaign and hide from the press.

I don’t think you can be the attorney general  of Texas and completely hide from the press while you’re under indictment. I just don’t think he can disappear. He can try it but it’s going to hurt him in the short and the long term.

xxxxx

He  can’t spend campaign funds on his legal defense because his crimes were personal crimes and didn’t involve in any ways his office, but isn’t it a weird thing that he could have a legal defense and raise money for it and how contributors to it might gain influence to the attorney general’s office?

He needs to stay in office to be able to raise money for his defense fund.