GOP Hopefuls Bash Taxes, Common Core Education, Clinton In New Hampshire

Ted Cruz (Darren McCollester, Getty Images)
Ted Cruz (Darren McCollester, Getty Images)

A parade of potential candidates continues here Saturday at a summit convened by the state GOP to give political activists a look at more than a dozen presidential hopefuls. Taxes, spending, foreign policy and Hillary Clinton were all on the agenda:

Scott Walker

The last shall be first, at least in opinion polls. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who leads in voter surveys of New Hampshire Republicans, wrapped up the two-day candidate cattle call here with a dinner speech that dwelt on his gubernatorial record of passing right-to-work and anti-abortion legislation, lowering tax rates, and ending seniority and tenure for schoolteachers.

To campaign in New Hampshire, Walker said he might ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle around the state, and he pointed out that he drew support in Wisconsin from all sections of the GOP, “Tea Party to social conservative to establishment.”

“People don’t just want a fighter, they want a fighter to wins,” he said. “You don’t win the center by running to the center. You run by leading.”

Ted Cruz

Politicians, even the president, should not decide whether to send U.S. troops to fight the Islamic State, Cruz said when asked to describe how he would stop the terrorist threat.

The U.S. should use “overwhelming air power” and arm Kurdish peshmerga fighters, he said. “Boots on the ground? I don’t think that should be decided by a bunch of politicians in Washington,” he said. “It should be driven by the military necessity.” Were he to be president, he said, he would seek the advice of military commanders — although he said one general had told him a military solution to the Middle East terrorist threat is not possible. “Nonsense,” Cruz said.  “The objective is not to degrade ISIS, it is to utterly and completely destroy ISIS. They are the face of evil.”

Lindsey Graham

Asked about his potential path to the GOP nomination, the South Carolina Republican spelled it out for the audience, which is well-versed in the mechanics of campaigns. “I’ve got to exceed expectations in Iowa. … finish in the top tier in New Hampshire, and then I’ll win South Carolina,” he said. “Then I will have momentum.”

A relatively recent entrant to the ranks of potential candidates, Graham emphasizes his expertise on national defense due to his position on the Armed Services Committee. “I believe I could connect with the average person,” he said. “If it’s not me, for God’s sake, pick somebody who can win.”

Bobby Jindal

The Louisiana governor is known for his opposition to Common Core educational standards but he told the Republican crowd that he also opposed a signature achievement of the last Republican president, George W. Bush: the No Child Left Behind law that gave rise to annual school testing. No Child Left Behind was a “mistake” that vastly expanded federal intervention into public education. He described Common Core, educational standards adopted by most states with federal financial incentives, as a way for the Obama administration to dictate school curricula. “Can you imagine how they would teach American history? It would be about victimhood.’’

Jindal reiterated his support for school choice. “A child’s zip code determines whether they’re going to get a good education,” he said. “This is not acceptable.’’

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SOURCE: USA Today OnPolitics – Martha T. Moore

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