TIME 2016 Campaign

First Lady: U.S. Should Elect Female President ‘As Soon as Possible’

White House Summit on Working Families
US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Working Families, in Washington DC, June 23, 2014. Michael Reynolds—EPA

As long as it's not her, Michelle Obama said at the Summit on Working Families.

Michelle Obama said the U.S. is ready for a female president and that the country should elect one “as soon as possible” on Monday.

“The person who should do the job is the person who is most qualified — and we have some options, don’t we?” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts at the Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., according to video from C-SPAN3.

“I think this country is ready — this country is ready for anyone who can do that job,” she said.

Though she did not make any kind of endorsement, Obama’s remarks seem to acknowledge a possible run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose 2016 campaign future has been the subject of wild speculation. President Barack Obama has said in the past that Clinton would be a “very effective” president if she decides to run and wins.

Michelle Obama, however, isn’t thinking about any kind of run for office herself. She said her post-White House plans “definitely will not be” political, but instead “mission-based” and “service-focused.”

[Mediaite]

TIME 2016 Campaign

Ted Cruz Renounces Newly Discovered Canadian Citizenship

Ted Cruz
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz address delegates at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, June 6, 2014. Rex C. Curry—AP

The Republican senator gave up his dual citizenship months after first learning he was a Canadian citizen

Texas Senator (and possible 2016 presidential hopeful) Ted Cruz has formally given up his Canadian citizenship, about nine months after learning he had it.

While at home in Houston on Tuesday, Cruz was notified by mail that the renunciation became official on May 14, The Dallas Morning News reports.

“He’s pleased to receive the notification and glad to have this process finalized,” spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said.

Cruz intended to give up his Canadian citizenship, which was not a secret, after The Dallas Morning News first brought it to his attention — to the surprise of him and his family — last August.

“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American,” said Cruz, who was born in the Canadian province of Alberta, at the time.

Like U.S. law, Canadian law dictates that anyone born in Canada becomes a Canadian citizen automatically. Babies born in non-U.S. countries to at least one American parent are entitled to American citizenship as well. The U.S. Constitution requires presidents to be “natural born” citizens, which is commonly believed to include Americans born with the right to citizenship, even if they were not born on American soil specifically.

[The Dallas Morning News]

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Book-Tour Overload: Just Don’t Call It a Campaign

The campaign-that-is-not-a-campaign is kicking into high gear

Sixteen months after leaving the State Department and six months before she decides whether to run for President again, Hillary Clinton is undertaking a rollout worthy of the highest office.

It officially begins Tuesday, when her book Hard Choices hits stores and mailboxes across the country by the hundreds of thousands. But you can also say it began a year ago, when Clinton began hitting the lucrative speaking circuit. And there’s of course been the carefully targeted leaks of nuggets from the book and media interviews. In many ways, the next few weeks are just more of the same: there will be lots more public speaking, as well as a campaign-style bus, courtesy of Ready for Hillary, the Clinton-insider sanctioned super PAC laying the groundwork for a campaign. In just about every way, it appears to be the continuation of a campaign that began the moment she left the Obama Administration. But Clinton says pay no attention — she has not yet made up her mind. “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough,” she writes in her book, a copy of which was reviewed by TIME.

So the campaign-that-is-not-a-campaign rolls on.

On Monday night, ABC News will air an hour-long prime-time special with Clinton interviewed by Diane Sawyer, followed Tuesday morning with a live interview on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. It’s an arrangement similar to that negotiated by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when they released their memoirs.

Hillary Clinton’s book isn’t a memoir in the traditional sense, but rather a delicately curated account of her time at the State Department clearly aimed at shoring up her vulnerabilities in preparation for a possible presidential campaign. It is filled with behind-the-scenes tales of meetings with foreign leaders and modestly revelatory insights into the Obama Administration’s inner sanctum. There is her long-delayed apology for her vote for the Iraq War, but more often than not the book presents her as a levelheaded decisionmaker, whose foreign policy recommendations were right, even if sometimes unheeded by President Barack Obama, her onetime rival.

The book closes with an outline of the economic challenges facing the nation, a tacit acknowledgement that foreign policy has faded on the public’s list of presidential priorities. Its release comes as Clinton has worked to align herself, at least rhetorically, with her party’s populist wing, delivering a rousing critique of rising income inequality last month in a speech at the New America Foundation in Washington.

Clinton will kick off the book tour with a stop at the Union Square Barnes & Noble bookstore in New York City, followed by a paid speech to the United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute in her hometown of Chicago. On Wednesday morning, she will be interviewed by a former aide to both her husband and Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The subsequent days will take her from Toronto to Austin, and next week she will tape a town-hall-style event airing on CNN at the Newseum in Washington. At no fewer than eight locations, she will be trailed by the Ready for Hillary bus and its volunteers.

There’s even a counter-narrative, offered in the 112-page e-book Failed Choices authored by Republican research outfit America Rising that will be released later this week.

In the book and on television, Clinton says she has not made up her mind about another run for the White House. But that won’t stop her from already doing everything that a full-bore candidate for President would do at this point in the 2016 election cycle.

TIME Newsmaker Interview

Brian Schweitzer Isn’t Holding Much Back as 2016 Approaches

Former Democratic Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer at the Montana AFL-CIO annual convention in Billings, Mont. on May 10, 2013
Former Democratic Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer at the Montana AFL-CIO annual convention in Billings, Mont. on May 10, 2013 Matt Brown—AP

Would he be a better president than Hillary Clinton? He thinks so

To get rid of the trash, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer either has to drive it away in a pickup from his remote lake house or burn it in a rusty oil barrel. But with the cellular signal from a nearby tower, he is able to broadcast live high-definition video of himself from his wine cellar to MSNBC viewers all over the country.

That same technology has also allowed him emerge in the last several months as a notable force in Democratic politics, as he has begun to explore publicly the possibility of a 2016 presidential bid and offer criticisms of President Obama and his heir apparent, Hillary Clinton. In this week’s TIME magazine, I have a story about Schweitzer on the range, his views of the party, and his thoughts on how to win in 2016. (The story is free to read online for subscribers. Everyone else click here to subscribe.) Suffice it to say, he is not just another Democratic candidate.

The story was reported over two days in May in and around his home, taking walks, riding horses, traveling the countryside in a six-wheel Polaris ATV and crossing the local roads in his pickup truck. He talked pretty much the whole time. Not all of the newsworthy things he said made it into print.

Here is a selection of his views on everything from Obama to Clinton to Republican resistance to comprehensive immigration reform. More, of course, can be found in the magazine.

On the Barack Obama presidency

I was very hopeful. I was like everyone else. I’m an idealist. And when Obama was elected, all of these things were going to happen. We were going to get out of these foreign entanglements. We were going to show the world that we were a country of laws, and we were going to close Guantanamo Bay. We were going to have a healthcare system that actually worked, that challenged expenses. But one by one, all that stuff was dashed.

Some of it is because they didn’t move fast enough, and some of it was dashed because you get to Washington, D.C., and it turns out that the Republicans are mostly owned by corporate America and the Democrats are partially owned by corporate America. The same insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, the same military industrial complex that fills the coffers for Republican reelections, they filled the coffers of Democrats for reelection. So that things don’t get done shouldn’t surprise you because it’s safe not to get things done. The status quo works.

On Hillary Clinton

You can’t be the candidate that shakes down more money on Wall Street than anybody since, I don’t know, Woodrow Wilson, and be the populist. You can’t be the one to say we’re going to focus on rebuilding America if you voted to go to the Iraq war. There were 30 some Democrats who voted against that.

On whether he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton

Well, I think so, of course. I think I have a background and a resume that isn’t just in government. But the time I was in government, I was a chief executive. And as I said to you before, you can go around Montana and ask people what they think of me and they will say, “Well I didn’t always agree with him, but I always knew where he stood and he was good with money.” That’s what they will say to a person. And I think there is one thing we all can agree on: they are not good with money in Washington, D.C.

On the 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq

I watched [Former West Virginia Sen.] Robert Byrd stand up and beg this country not to go to war in Iraq. And I would have been standing right beside him. A young guy, not an old guy, and I would have been saying, “I lived there [in the Middle East]. Are you f—ing crazy. Iraq is fighting the war against Iran. We are creating a vacuum, and we will have to fill it, or the Iranians will.”

On the hazards of working in Washington, D.C.

I do know this. If someone has been entrenched in Washington, D.C., for 8, 10, 12, 20 years, they are bought and paid for by the special interests. Not because they wanted to, not because they consider themselves corrupt, but because first there is a deal, and then another deal, and then they look the other way on big banks, and then you look the other way on regulation, and then you allow outsourcing of taxes, and then you allow the military industrial complex to talk you into voting for another war, and pretty soon you look at yourself in the mirror and you go, “My God, I’m all of those things that I hated when I came here.”

On the questions Democrats should ask themselves in deciding the 2016 nominee

Are we going to choose more leadership that is going to roll over and get scratched on the belly by corporations like a fat dog? Are we going to be able to reform this healthcare system so it is one that doesn’t hand your taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies? Are we going to force the pharmaceutical companies to sell medicine in the United States for the same price as they do to the rest of the world?

On immigration reform

Let me tell you who is rethinking their position on immigration. Not the Republican party. The Cheyenne, the Gravant, the Salish, the Crow. You know, they’d like to have that decision back. All the rest of us, what kind of royalty was your family when they got here? I know my family wasn’t royalty. They came here with just the clothes on their back and faith in God and high hopes and for the most part no place to go.

On the Democratic big tent

We are a big and diverse country and for the Democratic Party to be successful we have to be a big and diverse party. It has to be that same party that not only respects gay and lesbian rights and transgender rights in San Francisco, but respects that blue collar guy who takes a shower at the end of the day and not in the morning.

On the difference between big state and small state governors

Almost without fail, politicians that come from New York and Texas and California and Florida and Illinois, their personal game, their ability to connect one-on-one, their ability to walk into a room and light it up, is nothing like the folks that come from the Dakotas and Nebraska and Arkansas. Because in a place like Montana you don’t win an election by those TV ads. They know you — “Yeah I met him, I know his sister, I knew his parents.” And almost without fail if you walk in and take a look at the governors, you can pick out the ones from the big states.

On his strategy if he decides to get in the race

Look, if you wanted to make a big machine that matches the machine that is likely to be built around Hillary then you would have to have started eight years ago. But if the outcome is always known with a superior slow moving army then we would still be part of England and we would still have a king. And Hillary would be president, or whatever you have under a king, but certainly it would not have been Obama.

 

TIME 2016 elections

Marco Rubio: I’m Ready to Run for President

Senator Marco Rubio addresses the New Hampshire Rockingham Committee Freed Founder's Dinner in New Castle, N.H., on May 9, 2014.
Senator Marco Rubio addresses the New Hampshire Rockingham Committee Freed Founder's Dinner in New Castle, N.H., on May 9, 2014. Scott Eisen—Getty Images

The Republican senator from Florida said in an interview on Sunday he's ready to be commander-in-chief and didn't waste time with digs at potential nomination rival Sen. Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton, who Rubio gave an "F" to for her former job as Secretary of State

Marco Rubio says he is ready to become the President of the United States.

“I think that’s true for multiple other people that would want to run,” Florida’s junior senator told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on This Week Sunday. “I mean, I’ll be 43 this month, but the other thing that perhaps people don’t realize, I’ve served now in public office for the better part of 14 years. Most importantly, I think a president has to have a clear vision of where the country needs to go and clear ideas about how to get it there, and I think we’re very blessed in our party to have a number of people that fit that criteria.”

Rubio was once considered to be a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, but his poll numbers have been slipping as of late. He told Karl he’s not paying much attention to those polls (“It’s probably the TIME cover jinx, just like the Sports Illustrated jinx,” he joked, in reference to TIME’s February 2013 cover story on the senator).

During the interview, Rubio also said he did not believe humans have contributed to global climate change and that he would give Hillary Clinton an “F” grade for her job as Secretary of State. Rubio added that if he decided to run for president, he would not simultaneously seek re-election as a Florida senator.

“I believe that if you want to be president of the United States, you run for president,” Rubio said, in a thinly-veiled dig at Republican rival Rand Paul. Republican lawmakers in Paul’s home state of Kentucky recently unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill that would have let Paul run for the presidency and re-election in the Senate. “You don’t run for president with some eject button in the cockpit that allows you to go on an exit ramp if it doesn’t work out,” Rubio added.

[ABC]

TIME politics

A 2016 Bush-Clinton Match-Up? Gag Me.

Former US President George H.W. Bush(2nd
2005 inaugural ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. DON EMMERT—AFP/Getty Images

Americans will be paying off the debts of these two dynasties for a long time, and it's far from clear that the next generation under either Jeb or Hillary would do better.

Corrected May 8, 2014

For those benighted fools calling for a 2016 presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, it’s worth underscoring how uninspiring and backward-looking any new showdown would be. The short version? About as memorable and entertaining as Grudge Match, the recent Sylvester Stallone-Robert DeNiro “comedy” about over-the-hill boxers getting together for one…last…fight that you skipped when it was in theaters and now assiduously avoid on cable.

It’s also worth recalling just how underwhelming the first match-up between these two families was. Hampered by the dog-on-leg perspicacity of Ross Perot and a willingness to break his “no new taxes” pledge, George H.W. Bush pulled just 37.5% of the vote. Suffering from a zipper problem more expansive than an El Camino’s astroturf-lined flatbed and touting such accomplishments as moving Arkansas all the way to 48th out of 50 states in per-pupil education expenditures, Bill Clinton snuck into the White House with just 43% of the vote. (In 1996, despite facing Bob Dole, the least inspiring presidential candidate since the Yippies ran “Pigasus” in 1968, Clinton still only managed 49%, becoming the only two-term president to never win a majority of the popular vote.)

It’s not exactly clear if anybody outside a preternaturally lazy press corps and close family members are really pushing for a fourth showdown between the Clintons and the Bushes. “I hope Jeb runs,” older brother and former President George W. Bush says. “I think he would be a great president.” It’s true that back in the day many pundits had expected Jeb, not George, to be the next Bush in the White House. Despite success as a large-state governor, George had always come off as Fredo Corleone to Jeb’s Michael. But still: Who listens to the advice from the guy who left office with the lowest final approval rating ever?

When it comes to Hillary, it’s not even clear that she has locked down Bill’s unconditional backing. “I don’t know what Hillary’s going to do, but whatever it is, I expect to support it,” Bill said last year, the sort of tepid statement that would likely provoke a spousal spat on the off chance that they ever see each other again.

In an interesting new profile, Politico magazine asks, “What Is Hillary Clinton Afraid Of?” The authors talk a lot about the former Secretary of State’s well-known disdain for the press, and strongly suggest that it’s Clinton’s fear of having to revisit Whitewater, Vince Foster, Webb Hubbell, Travelgate, Troopergate, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Gennifer Flowers, our great national conversation about Peyronie’s disease and a thousand other barely remembered scandals, slights and humiliations that is keeping her from running for president.

Well, there’s also her truly awful record in the Obama administration, too. Nobody can seriously argue that America’s foreign policy and standing in the world soared to new heights on Clinton’s watch. Even her attempt to “reset” relations with Russia was botched (the “reset button” she presented her Russian counterpart actually translated as “overcharged”). And as recently released emails suggest, questions about Benghazi, the highest-profile debacle on Clinton’s watch, are far from dead. So maybe Hillary Clinton is less afraid of the press and more worried about having to defend the rotten record she compiled as part of an administration whose president keeps getting less and less popular.

For his part, former Florida Gov. Jeb is not just fighting “Bush fatigue,” an affliction typically reserved for actors in adult movies, but a long layoff from elected office (he stepped down in 2007). Then there’s extreme partisan right-wing outrage over his willingness to defend illegal immigration as “an act of love.” Speaking for many conservatives, Mark Krikorian of National Review dubbed such talk “gibberish” and “horse flop.”

Unlike the Democratic field, which seems to be there for Clinton’s taking (though she was in that position in 2008), the GOP field is thick with contenders ranging from Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee. Recent polls show Bush in a tie with Sen. Rand Paul but it’s anybody guess how things will shake out. Bush has issues on the family front too. They are different from Clinton’s to be sure, but no less important. His wife is famously reluctant to see him take a shot at the White House, and one of his children has had drug-related problems that would certainly get a full airing, especially due to charges of special legal treatment and Bush’s strong anti-drug stance.

If it’s far from clear what sort of personal calculus at which Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton may yet arrive, there should be no question that a Clinton-Bush race would be bad for those of us not related to either. America has never been particularly fond of dynasties (apart from psychotics, who really likes the Yankees or the Kennedys?), and representatives of one or both of these families have been running for president basically since at least 1980. More importantly, their clans have been central players in an increasingly vicious and rancorous era in politics whose chief effect has been to drive a record number of Americans to declare themselves to be political independents. If we’re so concerned about inequality in America, what sort of message does it send to strivers that we can’t go a decade without gifting a Bush or a Clinton free housing, use of a private jet and the mother of all expense accounts?

Turning back to such dated and damaged goods would also be yet one more cruel joke that Baby Boomers are playing on Gen Xers and Millennials. The generation born between 1946 and 1964 – Hillary was born in 1947 and Jeb in 1960 – are waging nothing less than class warfare on younger Americans. The crew that grew up singing along to The Who’s “My Generation” (which proclaimed “I hope I die before I get old”) is now refusing to exit the center stage of American life gracefully — or at all.

The old-age entitlements that boomers are beginning to collect en masse will be tapped out way before today’s young workers turn 65, but only after beggaring those same workers through payroll taxes and worse and worse payouts. Obamacare, which caps what older people can be charged for health care, is specifically designed to make young Americans pay more than market rates to subsidize premiums for older folks who are, as a class, far wealthier and able to pay their own way. Under Jeb’s brother and Hillary’s former boss, the Boomer-led government has racked up debt that younger Americans will be paying off for generations if not centuries to come.

The fact that more and more young people are living with their parents is usually seen as something approaching a tragedy for both kids and parents. You can’t move out if you don’t have a job. Now comes word that Baby Boomers are refusing to retire because they feel forever young. Can’t the White House at least be one place in America where a younger American can finally move out to?

Correction: The original version of this post cited the percent of electoral votes George H.W. Bush won in 1992. It has been corrected to reflect his popular vote.

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