TIME 2016 Election

Romney Says Chance He Runs In 2016 Is ‘One Of A Million’

NBC

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday put the odds of his mounting a third bid for the White House at “one of a million.”

The former Massachusetts governor told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he did not think he is well positioned to take on the expected Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and referenced this famous scene from 1994’s Dumb and Dumber when pressed.

“Well, you know, let’s say all the guys that were running all came together and said, ‘Hey, we’ve decided we can’t do it, you must do it,'” Romney said. “That’s the one of the million we’re thinking about.”

“I just want to confirm you’re telling me that we’ve got a chance there,” Hewitt asked. “The Dumb and Dumber, one of a million,” Romney replied.

Some in the Republican establishment have called on Romney to mount a repeat candidacy, arguing that the GOP needs an established figure to take on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Backers have pointed to recent polls which give Romney an edge over Obama were the 2012 election to be repeated today. Supporters have also cited foreign policy developments that they argue vindicate Romney’s mocked-at-the-time warnings about Russia and China.

“The reason I came to the conclusion I did, which is this is not the right time for me to run, is because of my belief that someone else stands a better chance of winning than I do,” Romney said. “Had that not been the case, had I believed I would actually be best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton, then I would be running. But I actually believe that someone new that is not defined yet–someone who perhaps is from the next generation–will be able to catch fire, potentially, build a movement, and be able to beat Hillary Clinton.”

Romney has raised eyebrows with a nationwide travel and fundraising schedule on behalf of Republicans this fall, an effort Romney confidants say was born out of his desire to thank Republicans for supporting him in 2012–not in an attempt to earn their backing for 2016. Romney’s 2012 running-mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, told Hewitt in an interview Monday that he would welcome a repeat bid by Romney.

Romney said he would “hope” that he’d be a better candidate if he ran a third time. “But at the same time, there are people who are not yet known by the American public who have extraordinary records, great capability, Paul Ryan being one of them, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio,” he said, listing off some of the Republicans known to be mulling 2016 White House bids. “Of course, people are getting to know Chris Christie. Jeb Bush, they don’t know Jeb Bush as the governor of Florida, and the kind of record he has and had there.”

Romney left Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul off his list of strong contenders, going on to say that he disagrees with those in his party who are pushing for the United States to disengage from the world. Romney pledged he would “continue to speak out on issues of significance as I see them, and hopefully be able to convince the people who are running from our party to adopt policies that encompass foreign policy and keeping America safe.”

In the interview, Romney also said he would be uninterested in serving as the running-mate for the eventual GOP nominee. “I would always be happy to serve my country in any way that I was called upon to do,” Romney said. “But that’s not a job I would seek. I was seeking the presidency, not the vice presidency.”

Listen to the interview here.

TIME 2016 Election

Pro-Clinton Group Touts Her Record on Women

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 30, 2014
Hillary Clinton is seen arriving at The Carlyle Hotel on July 30, 2014 in New York City. Alessio Botticelli—GC Images/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton’s shadow campaign emphasizes her empowerment of women

A group dedicated to defending and promoting Hillary Clinton’s record ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid used Women’s Equality Day to tout her record of promoting women Tuesday.

The group Correct the Record released a two-page document entitled “Breaking Glass: Women’s Economic Empowerment.” The document, given exclusively to TIME, looks at Clinton’s work to promote women’s and girls’ issues as Secretary of State. The issue was Clinton’s top policy priority. The push came after her failed 2008 presidential bid, during which she didn’t highlight the historic nature of her candidacy until the end of the campaign, famously saying only in her concession speech that her bid to be the first female president represented “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” for the 18 million votes she’d received in the primaries.

Many Clinton advisers who’d worked on the campaign have said in retrospect that they wished they’d emphasized the historic opportunity she had to be the first female president earlier. Clinton lost the women’s vote in 16 state and territorial primaries to Barack Obama. Already this time, Ready for Hillary, another arm of Clinton’s shadow campaign, has focused on outreach to female voters as a priority.

Correct the Record’s promotion of Clinton’s record also speaks to that push, highlighting the work that she’s done to further women and children globally. The group notes that Clinton created the office of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and raised women’s issues at all international economic forums. She launched the Equal Futures Partnership to advance women in politics and the private sector. Along with Asian Partners she pushed through the San Francisco Declaration, an agreement to realize women’s economic potential. With help from Middle Eastern countries she launched the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society, which brought together and empowered activists in the region to work on women’s economic and political. In Latin America and the Caribbean she launched WEAmericas to help women grow small businesses. In Africa, she created the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program to help train women qualify for the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade agreement that gives privileged trade status to certain African countries and businesses. And she directed the Invest for the Future program in Southern and Eastern Europe and Eurasia to focus on women’s entrepreneurship.

“Hillary Clinton championed such unprecedented and impassioned work at the State Department to advance women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment that it would take an entire book to fully chronicle her efforts,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the group. “Correct The Record put together this ‘Breaking Glass’ record analysis to highlight Clinton’s many successes, including several multilateral partnerships and programs which raised the profile of women’s issues and resulted in greater economic engagement of women around the world.”

TIME 2016 Election

Perry Stops in Washington in Wake of Indictment

Rick Perry
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his Aug. 15 indictment on charges that he abused power an “attack on our system of government” during a speech on immigration at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his Aug. 15 indictment on charges that he abused power an “attack on our system of government” during a speech on immigration at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

Gov.Perry stopped in Washington on his way to New Hampshire less than a week after being indicted by a grand jury in Texas on charges of abuse of power. He said Thursday he was confident in his case and that he aims to “defend our constitution and defend our rule of law in the state of Texas.”

The charges against Perry stem from his veto of $7.5 million worth of funding to the state entity that investigates political corruption, the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, after Travis County’s embattled District Attorney refused to resign in the wake of a drunk driving arrest.

Democrats in Texas have alleged Perry wanted funding cut to the public integrity unit to delay an investigation into mismanagement at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, one of Perry’s signature programs. In an affidavit released by Perry’s lawyers on Thursday, a former criminal investigator at the Travis County Public Integrity Unit said neither Governor Perry nor anyone from his officer were ever a target in the investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

“Any suggestion that Governor Rick Perry or anyone associated with him was being investigated is untrue; and, based on my investigation, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that suggests wrongdoing on the part of any individual other than the individual ultimately indicted by a grand jury,” the affidavit reads.

Perry has come across as calm, and at times cheeky, in the face of the charges. The governor presented a slight smile in his mugshot, released Tuesday. After being booked, Perry went out for ice cream. And now, Perry is hitting the road, with scheduled appearances in states that would be crucial if the governor were to run for President in 2016 as expected, including New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina.

Even during his brief remarks in Washington, Perry seemed to be focused mainly on the idea of one day serving as commander-in-chief: following a brief mention of the case against him in his home state, the Governor focused his attention on the crisis at the border, calling it a threat to national security. Perry said there should be no conversation about immigration reform, “until the border is secure.”

TIME States

See Governor Rick Perry’s New Mugshot

+ READ ARTICLE

Texas Governor Rick Perry indictment over charges of alleged abuse of power left him required to something not common of a sitting governor: take a mugshot.

Perry turned himself in to have his mugshot taken on Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas.

Perry ardently objects to charges laid out against him by the Travis County District Attorney. He stated on Tuesday that he remained confident because of his belief that “the rule of law would prevail.”

Perry followed up his trip to the courthouse with a trip to an ice cream shop.

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Is Going Back to Iowa

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) to launch a community campaign to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their young children in Oakland, Calif., July 23, 2014.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) to launch a community campaign to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their young children in Oakland, Calif., July 23, 2014. AP

A visit to a key caucus state as she mulls 2016 White House run

Hillary Clinton will travel to Iowa in September for a high-profile political gathering, according to reports Monday, her first public appearance in the key caucus state in six years, and one that will be widely seen as an attempt to begin courting voters there ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid.

Both Clinton, the former Secretary of State, and former President Bill Clinton will appear at the Annual Harkin Steak Fry, the Des Moines Register reports, a must-visit for presidential hopefuls that is hosted by longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

Harkin is retiring from the Senate this year, and he promised in a recent note to supporters that this year’s Steak Fry, the 37th one and his last, “just might promise to be the best ever.”

The event will mark Clinton’s first public return to Iowa, which holds the country’s first nominating caucuses, since she suffered a critical loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama in their 2008 fight. Clinton placed third that year behind Obama and John Edwards, after her campaign proved indecisive about how hard to campaign for caucus voters who often reward grassroots organizing over big events and TV ads. As the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run again, Clinton could be sending an early signal that she won’t write off Iowa.

“I couldn’t be happier than to share this special day with two such close friends,” Harkin told the Register of the Clintons. “They have contributed so much good, inspiring leadership to this country, and I know they will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

[Des Moines Register]

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Likes to Stay in the ‘Presidential Suite’ When She Travels

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 30, 2014
Hillary Clinton is seen arriving at The Carlyle Hotel on July 30, 2014 in New York City. Alessio Botticelli—GC Images/Getty Images

Amid recent scrutiny of high speaking fees

Hillary Clinton isn’t President yet, but she like staying in the presidential suite of the luxury hotels she frequents, according to a new report.

The former Secretary of State’s team lays out her travel preferences in documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review Journal ahead of a scheduled October fundraiser for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation. The documents also reveal that Clinton, who is mulling a potential 2016 presidential bid, has been guaranteed a $225,000 speaker’s fee for the event. Clinton has been under scrutiny in recent months for her lucrative speaking fees.

When she travels, the Review Journal reports, Clinton also requests that travel costs be included and that she have access to a round-trip chartered jet for her and much of her staff. She typically wants a Gulfstream 450 jet or something larger, a stay in the presidential suite of a hotel of her choice, and nearby accommodations and meals for her staff.

[Las Vegas Review Journal]

TIME 2016 Election

Rick Perry Defiant in Face of Criminal Charges

"We don't settle political differences with indictments"

+ READ ARTICLE

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Saturday dismissed the criminal charges leveled against him as partisan political gamesmanship, and vowed to stand by his decision in 2013 to veto funding for a public integrity unit.

“We don’t settle political differences with indictments,” said Perry, referring to the grand jury’s Friday indictment against him. “‘It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to tear away the fabric of our constitution.”

The indictment is a response to Perry’s 2013 veto of $7.5 million in funding to state’s public integrity unit, based in the Travis County district attorney’s office. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2012. Perry vetoed her office’s funding after she refused to step aside.

At the time that Perry vetoed the funding, the unit was investigating one of Perry’s signature achievements, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, for alleged mismanagement.

The grand jury indicted include abuse of official capacity, which carries a penalty of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, which carries a penalty of two to 10 years.

Perry said Saturday that as governor, he is constitutionally within his rights to veto funding for any office. “I exercise the authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership has lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically,” said Perry. “I intend to fight against those that that would erode our state constitution and laws purely for political purposes.”

Perry added that he will continue to focus on his governorship and focus particularly closely on border security.

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, both likely contenders against Perry for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, have voiced their support for the governor.

Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum, a noted San Antonio criminal defense attorney who led the indictment against Perry, told reporters he will be working with the governor’s attorney to set up a time for Perry to be arraigned and booked. “I feel confident with the charges that have been filed,” he said.

TIME 2016 Election

Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal Stand With Rick Perry Over Indictment

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivers a speech to 2014 Red State Gathering attendees on Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivers a speech to 2014 Red State Gathering attendees on Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Tony Gutierrez—AP

Two prominent members of the GOP 2016 field tweeted their support for the Texas governor

Two of Gov. Rick Perry’s senior Republican allies have stepped forward to support the Texan after he was indicted on two counts of abuse of power by a grand jury in Texas Friday.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal each issued public messages of support a day after Texas prosecutors said that Perry’s denial in 2013 of $7.5 million to the state’s public integrity unit amounts to an abuse of his official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

Perry, who is widely believed to be preparing a run for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, has denied any legal wrongdoing, and called the indictment politically motivated.

Cruz, who would likely be one of Perry’s opponents in the 2016 race, voiced his support for the governor in a Twitter post.

Jindal, also a probable 2016 GOP presidential nomination candidate, called Perry’s indictment a political “witch hunt” on his official Twitter account.

Perry threatened to deny funding to a public integrity unit last year when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2012. When Lehmberg did not resign, as Perry had demanded, the governor made good on his promise and vetoed funding for the unit. At the time that Perry vetoed the funding, the unit was investigating one of Perry’s signature achievements, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, for alleged mismanagement.

Perry’s camp points out that a veto of funding is within the legal powers of a sitting governor, and says that the lawsuit is a partisan attack. The central question in the case is whether Perry abused his power in order to coerce Lehmberg to resign.

Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, also 2016 presidential hopefuls, have yet to issue statements.

TIME

Rick Perry Indicted in Politically-Charged Texas Battle

Rick Perry
Governor Rick Perry pauses as he addresses attendees at the 2014 Red State Gathering, Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Tony Gutierrez—AP

Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on two counts of abuse of power Friday by a Texas grand jury, in the latest chapter of a long-running politically-charged dispute between the Republican and his Democratic opponents.

The indictment revolves around Perry’s veto of $7.5 million in funding to state’s public integrity unit., based in the Travis County district attorney’s office. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2012. Perry publicly demanded that she step aside. When she didn’t, he vetoed the unit’s funding.

At the same time, the unit, long a weather vane to Texas politics, was investigating one of Perry’s signature achievements, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, for alleged mismanagement. Texans for Public Justice, a left-leaning watchdog group, filed an ethics complaint over Perry’s public veto threat.

At the request of Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum, a Travis County grand jury returned felony indictments against Perry on two counts, abuse of official capacity, which carries a penalty of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, which carries a penalty of two to 10 years.

Central to the case will be whether Perry’s threat to veto, an act authorized by the state’s constitution, constituted a misuse of state property, and whether his calls for Lehmberg to resign rose to a level of coercion. Both counts are likely to prove difficult for prosecutors to make.

In a statement, Perry’s general counsel Mary Anne Wiley defended the legality of the veto and pledged to fight the charges. “The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” she said. “We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”

“I am outraged and appalled that the Grand Jury has taken this action, given the governor’s constitutional right and duty to veto funding as he deems appropriate,” added David L. Botsford, Perry’s personal attorney. “This clearly represents political abuse of the court system and there is no legal basis in this decision. The facts of this case conclude that the governor’s veto was lawful, appropriate and well within the authority of the office of the governor. Today’s action, which violates the separation of powers outlined in the Texas Constitution, is nothing more than an effort to weaken the constitutional authority granted to the office of Texas governor, and sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a grand jury to punish the exercise of a lawful and constitutional authority afforded to the Texas governor.”

Perry did not testify before the grand jury and he was not subpoenaed to appear, though members of his staff did.

McCrum told reporters he will be working with Perry’s attorney to set up a time for Perry to be arraigned and booked. “I feel confident with the charges that have been filed,” he told reporters.

A noted San Antonio criminal defense attorney, McCrum was appointed as an assistant US Attorney by President George H.W. Bush. In 2010 he was nominated in President Barack Obama to be U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, but he withdrew his name after his nomination stalled.

Texas Democrats quickly released a statement calling on Perry to resign. “Governor Rick Perry has brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas,” the party said. “Texans deserve to have leaders that stand up for what is right and work to help families across Texas.”

The indictment comes as Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, is set to step down in January after 14 years in office. The failed 2012 Republican presidential hopeful has been traveling the country in recent months in preparation for a second run at the White House, most recently returning to Texas from a four-day trip to Iowa on Tuesday.

TIME 2016 Election

A Bachelor Is Iowa’s Newest Political Celebrity

Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette"
Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette" Craig Sjodin—ABC

"Pretty much every female in her twenties is familiar with him"

The rumored next star of the reality show The Bachelor is quickly becoming Iowa’s most visible political celebrity. [Update: ABC has announced Soules will be the next Bachelor.]

Chris Soules, a scruffy farmer from Arlington, was judging the Iowa Farm Bureau’s cookout contest at the Iowa State Fair when Texas Gov. Rick Perry blazed through on Tuesday. Perry, who was in the midst of a four-day swing to support Iowa Republicans up for election this fall while laying the groundwork for a repeat presidential bid, greeted Soules with a handshake as he toured the contest and the pair chatted briefly out of earshot before posing for a photo.

“Enjoyed meeting Chris from the bachelor at the Iowa State Fair today,” Perry’s account tweeted. Soules retweeted him.

But Perry was hardly the first Republican 2016 hopeful to meet Soules, who has been ubiquitous at the State Fair and around Des Moines in recent days. Earlier this month, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio met the reality television star at the annual party hosted by Iowa GOP bigwig Bruce Rastetter. “Rubio Gains Notice, But ‘Batchelorette‘ Hunk Steals Show,” blared the Des Moines Register in a headline on Sunday.

Soules’ political affiliation is not publicly known, but attendees at the Rastetter event said he volunteered that he was a Republican. Soules would hardly be the first celebrity endorser should he announce a preference in the GOP’s presidential sweepstakes. Rick Santorum traveled the country in 2011 trailed by a bus carrying the Duggar family of the TLC show 19 Kids & Counting.

“Pretty much every female in her twenties is familiar with him,” one Republican operative said. “And probably a bunch in their 30s and 40s who might not admit it so freely. So it wouldn’t hurt a candidate to be seen rubbing elbows with that guy, especially for a party that struggles with a gender gap.”

Soules, 32, rocketed to the national scene as a finalist on Andi Dorfman’s season of ABC’s The Bachelorette this summer. Dorfman praised his charm, down-home family, and Iowa digs, but sent him packing without giving him an invitation for a “Fantasy Suite” date. Multiple reports have recently indicated he’ll star in the next season of The Bachelor. Soules did not respond to a request for comment.

-Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dias

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