Posts tagged with "Mike Pence"

Winners and losers of the first GOP debate, according to ‘The Hill’

August 25, 2023

A stormy Republican clash in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, August 23, kicked off the 2024 presidential debate season—even if the biggest name wasn’t on the stage, reports The Hill.

Former President Trump’s decision not to participate in the Fox News debate at Fiserv Forum overshadowed the event and likely lowered its ratings, the political website opined.

Trump did not entirely cede the spotlight, though, The Hill sad: His conversation with Tucker Carlson went live on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, five minutes before the debate began.

Trump will be back center stage Thursday, when he surrenders to authorities in Georgia, facing his fourth criminal indictment.

The Milwaukee debate gave his rivals a rare opportunity to reach a huge audience without the former president directly intervening or interrupting.

Here are the candidates whom The Hill identifies as the winners and losers from the big night:

WINNERS

Former Vice President Mike Pence: Pence had struggled to qualify for the debate, taking a conspicuously long time to get over the required threshold of donors.

But he was the surprise winner on Wednesday night, with a number of forceful interventions, The Hill said.

He also got an unexpected assist in the shape of a question to all the candidates about his actions on January 6, 2021. Several rivals paid tribute, albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to Pence’s actions certifying the result of the 2020 election and withstanding Trump’s pressure to overturn it.

At other moments, Pence’s fieriness—especially when directed at Vivek Ramaswamy—was the most startling element of the night. Early on, Pence took a clear swipe at the 38-year-old Ramaswamy, saying, “Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We don’t need to bring in a rookie.”

Pence was also effective in reminding anti-abortion voters of his long record on that topic, quoting Biblical scripture to back up his position.

Pence faces enormous challenges in the primary—not least, unfavorable numbers with GOP voters that are higher than almost any other candidate. But Wednesday was the best night of his campaign to date.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Christie got in the cleanest shot of the night, soon after Ramaswamy boasted that he was the only candidate on the stage “not bought and paid for.” An exasperated Christie jabbed back, “I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT.”

With that line, Christie may have found the weak spot in Ramaswamy’s armor, just as he did when he attacked Florida Senator Marco Rubio in a similar debate almost eight years ago.

Christie also emphasized his differences with Trump, of course. He is the most aggressively anti-Trump candidate in the race—a fact which, by itself, almost certainly dooms him to defeat.

Speaking of Trump’s multiple indictments, Christie said that whether people believed the former president’s actions were criminal or not, “Someone has got to stop normalizing this conduct, OK?”

A huge swath of the GOP base will hate what Christie had to say. But in terms of debating skill, his was probably the most impressive performance on the stage.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley

Perceptions of debates can often be determined by memorable moments. By that standard, Haley had a good night.

She staked out different ground than her rivals on abortion—expressing skepticism about a federal ban at an early stage of pregnancy and about the role of Supreme Court justices in deciding “something this personal.”

She starkly branded Trump “the most disliked politician in America” to make the argument that the GOP cannot win with him as its standard bearer.

ut her single biggest moment came in a blast at Ramaswamy over the entrepreneur’s deep skepticism about funding for Ukraine.

Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, she told Ramaswamy, “This guy is a murderer, and you are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country.”

When Ramaswamy tried to defend himself, Haley poured more pressure on: “You have no foreign policy experience — and it shows,” she told him.

MIXED

Vivek Ramaswamy

It seems near-certain that Ramaswamy is the candidate whose performance will most divide opinion.

According to a report by Fox News, Ramaswamy introduced himself as a “skinny guy with a funny last name” after receiving his first question from moderator Bret Baier in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The phrase echoed Obama’s own choice of words when he introduced himself to the country while delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

“So, first let me just address a question that’s on everybody’s mind at home tonight Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage?” Ramaswamy joked, echoing Obama almost word-for-word.

Despite that, it’s easy to see why his supporters could make the case that he shone, The Hill noted. He’s clearly different, he withstood some heavy verbal blows and he offers a candidacy uniquely in step with the sensibilities of a new, younger generation.

The degree to which Ramaswamy was targeted by other candidates is also a backhanded compliment to the threat he poses.

But the entrepreneur also seemed shallow at times, especially on Ukraine and in his craven promise to pardon Trump of any convictions if elected president.

There is also a question mark around his overall demeanor. The traits that his fans see as confidence and clarity can just as easily read as self-satisfaction and glibness.

Ramaswamy might get a polling boost simply from being able to introduce himself to such a large audience.

But his weaknesses were badly exposed as well.

LOSERS

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

DeSantis arrived in Milwaukee needing a big night. He didn’t get it. It wasn’t that the Florida governor made any obvious gaffes. But he didn’t have any great moments either and; more importantly, he didn’t impose himself on the debate at any point.

For long stretches, DeSantis faded into the background of the debate.That is a big problem, since his whole campaign is predicated on being the sole alternative to Trump.

DeSantis’s campaign has been trending downward since its beginning and there was no real reason to believe that Wednesday night’s performance, which often sounded over-rehearsed, changed that.

Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina)

The Republican field already has an identifiable second tier behind Trump, DeSantis, and the rising Ramaswamy. It comprises Pence, Haley, and Scott.

Scott had the least impressive night of the trio. The South Carolina senator is well-liked by many Republicans but his low-key affability isn’t ideal for contentious debate nights.

Scott tried to stay above the fray, at one point intervening in a Christie-Ramaswamy verbal tussle to insist: “Going back and forth being childish is not helpful to the American people.”

But for the most part, Scott simply lacked impact.

He was also eclipsed by Haley, which is dangerous for him. Given their similarities—including a shared, electorally crucial home-state—there likely isn’t enough room for both candidates to thrive in the long run.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

It was always going to be a tough night for the two lowest-polling candidates, stuck on the farthest edges of the stage, reports The Hill. Neither got a breakout moment.

The greatest excitement relating to Burgum was whether he would make the stage at all, having suffered a basketball injury earlier in the day that required a hospital visit.

Hutchinson made his usual Trump criticisms— even saying that the 14th Amendment may bar the former president from running again, given its injunction against anyone holding office who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

He was met with boos for those remarks.

Still, the biggest question Burgum and Hutchinson face is how to make themselves relevant. Neither found the answer Wednesday, contends The Hill.

 Research contact: @thehill

Trump pledges to get revenge on Ron DeSantis’s backers

March 3, 2023

Several former supporters of ex-President Donald Trump attended a donor retreat hosted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the last weekend in February and—after learning who was in attendance—Trump has promised retribution, reports Newsweek.

The former president launched his third run for the White House last November; and many 2024 polls suggest his main rival for the Republican nomination is DeSantis, who has yet to reveal his plans. In most polls, Trump ranks above potential opponents—including DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence; and Nikki Haley, who announced her bid in February.

The DeSantis donor event took place in Palm Beach, just a few miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort where the former president held his own gathering on Thursday, February 23, according to CBS News.

The guests at the DeSantis gathering included Roy Bailey, who was national co-chair of Trump’s fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee in 2020,; and Mick Mulvaney, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff for 14 months.

However, the name on the guest list that most seemed to perturb Trump was David McIntosh. The former U.S. representative is now the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative nonprofit that advocates for tax cuts. The organization opposed Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Trump singled out McIntosh in a post on Truth Social late on Tuesday night, February 28, aiming jabs at the former lawmaker and his advocacy group.

“Failed former Congressman David McIntosh and his Globalist friends at Club for No Growth, who fought me all the way in 2016, and LOST, and then fought me again in 2020 Senate Races in Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina, New Hampshire, plus more, and LOST AGAIN, are now threatening to spend money against me early because their new boy, Ron DeSanctus, the man who wants to cut Social Security and MediCare, has dropped so drastically in the Polls to me,” he wrote. “No Growth Members know there will be RETRIBUTION!!!”

Some Republican  have voiced concern over Trump becoming the GOP nominee in 2024—suggesting that the former president is a distraction and more divisive than other primary candidates.

Lori Davis, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign in New Hampshire, said his critical and judgmental approach had turned some supporters against him. “I like Donald Trump. But he has gone too far polarizing. It’s going to be an uphill battle for him in this primary because of his divisiveness. People are tired of the drama,” Davis said.

“I’m seeing that people want DeSantis. He has a lot of the Trump philosophy, but is not as bombastic,; he’s not attacking people 24/7. People are tired of that. It gives them headaches.”

However, poll tracker FiveThirtyEight still shows Trump leading DeSantis in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination. In a compilation that includes research by YouGov, Emerson College, Morning Consult, and Echelon Insights, Trump is in front of DeSantis in every head-to-head, sometimes by as many as 30 percentage points.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Biden leads Trump, DeSantis by similar margins in new poll

January 28, 2022

President Joe Biden is leading two top Republicans—former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—in two hypothetical, head-to-head match-ups for the 2024 presidential election, reports The Hill

A poll just conducted by Marquette University Law School has found that 43% of U.S. adults would support Biden if the 2024 presidential election were held today, while 33% would vote for Trump in a one-on-one match-up. Sixteen percent said they would choose a different candidate, while 6 percent said they would not vote.

In a hypothetical race against DeSantis, however, Biden does not poll as strongly: 41%t of adults nationwide said they would throw their support behind Biden, while 33% would support DeSantis. Eighteen percent of respondents said they would vote for a different candidate, and 8 percent said they would not cast a ballot.

Only 29% of those polled said they want to see Trump run for president again in 2024, while 71% said they did not want to see him seek a second term.

The polling comes as tensions between Trump and DeSantis are mounting amid a possibility that the two GOP figures could face off against one another in a Republican primary to lead the ticket in 2024.

Trump has been grumbling behind the scenes for months regarding DeSantis’s rise in the party. Recent media reports have taken a microscope to the relationship between the two GOP leaders—one that has been characterized as confrontational and marked by private but personal attacks.

The former president appeared to knock DeSantis earlier this month for refusing to disclose if he has received his COVID-19 booster shot. Trump, during an interview, criticized “gutless” politicians who will not reveal their booster shot status.

Trump and DeSantis have not revealed if they will launch bids for the White House in 2024. Additionally, the Florida governor has refused to say publicly whether he will or will not challenge the former president should he wage a reelection campaign.

A Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey shared with The Hill earlier this week found that, in a hypothetical eight-person GOP primary, Trump raked in 57% support, followed by DeSantis at 11% and former Vice President Mike Pence at 11%. No other candidate in the poll pulled in double-digit support.

Biden in December said he plans to run for reelection “if I’m in good health.”

A Wednesday poll from Politico and Morning Consult found that 45% of registered voters would support Biden if the election were held today, and 44% would support Trump—which would make for a tight rematch. Eleven percent said they would not vote.

The Marquette Law School poll surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide between January 10 and January 21.

Research contact: @thehill

Rich man, poor man: Fed legislators are worth 10X more than voters

March 5, 2018

The median net worth of an adult American is $44,900 , based on findings of a Business Insider study released in June 2017. That’s less than one-tenth of median net worth of a federal legislator, according to a study by Roll Call released on February 27.

The people’s representatives just keep getting richer, and doing so faster than the people they represent. Indeed, according to Roll Call’s data, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more; half less) of today’s Senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, an upward push of 16% over just the past two years. The total wealth of all current members was at least $2.43 billion when the 115th Congress began.

The political news source noted, “The disparity becomes clear after examining the most recent financial disclosures of virtually every current lawmaker. The news is not likely to do them any good during a midterm campaign year when disapproval of Capitol Hill remains in record territory and sentiment remains strong that politicians in Washington are far too disconnected from the lives of their constituents.”

For every 13 members of the U.S. Congress, Roll Call found, one may fairly be dubbed a “1 percenter,” the term of derision imposed by liberal groups on the richest 1% of Americans. Data from the Federal Reserve pegged the net worth threshold for these people at $10.4 million in 2016, a mark exceeded by 26 Republicans and 17 Democrats during this session of Congress.

Specifically, more than half of the collective worth of Congress is held by 12 members, Roll Call documented. Among the 10 richest member of the current U.S. Congress are the following:

  1. Darrell Issa (R-California): $283M
  2. Greg Guianforte (R-Montana): $136M
  3. Jared Polis (D-Colorado): $123M
  4. Dave Trott (R-Michigan) $119M
  5. Michael McCaul (R-Rexas): $113M
  6. John Delaney (D-Maryland) $93M
  7. Mark Warner (D-Virginia): $93M
  8. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida) $74M
  9. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut): $70M
  10. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) $58M
  11. Tom Rooney (R-Florida): $55M
  12. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Indiana): $50M

Below this rung of the phenomenally prosperous is a thicker belt of the merely flush— the 153 House members (13 more than in the previous Congress) and 50 senators who are millionaires, at least on paper. This stands in contrast to the 7.4% of U.S. households that had amassed a net worth above $1 million in 2016, their home values included, according to the Spectrum Group investment research firm.

By coincidence, 38% of the women in Congress are millionaires—identical to the share of millionaires in the total membership.

The congressional millionaire ranks skew old, “reinforcing how many people enter politics only after they’ve assured themselves of a solid financial footing.” Roll Call said. A little more than half of the five dozen lawmakers born before the end of World War II are worth more than $1 million, as are 43% of the Hill’s Baby Boomers (or the five out of eight members born between 1946 and 1964). But among the quarter of the membership from Generation X and the handful of Millennials, only 20% are millionaire.

At the other end of the spectrum are nearly one-quarter of the members (123),  whose financial disclosures reflect a negative net worth. For many this is true only on paper, because they owe plenty on their home mortgages, which must be reported while the value of their real estate is not. (Neither is their annual $174,000 government salary.)

And in the middle are the “typical” members, with senators boasting a significantly better median net worth ($1.4 million for Republicans, $946,000 for Democrats) than House members, where the median figure for both caucuses is just north of $400,000.

A very similar figure, $397,000, is the minimum net worth disclosed on the essentially identical form for 2016 filled out by Vice President Mike Pence, who spent a dozen years as a federal legislator from Indiana.

President Donald Trump’s most recent form, however, describes a chief executive far richer than anyone in the legislative branch-—worth at least $1.1 billion at the time of his election.

Research contact: davidhawkings@cqrollcall.com