TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Also Used iPad Despite Claims of Single Device

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015.
Brooks Kraft—Corbis Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015.

"Pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I'm not sure replies go thru"

(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.

They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton’s personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.

“I like the idea of these,” she wrote to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?”

Abedin replied, “Did u mean to send to me?” To which Clinton wrote, “No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

The other emails between Clinton and her advisers provided by the State Department contained a summary of a 2011 meeting between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and senior Egyptian officials in Cairo. It was uncensored and did not appear to contain sensitive information. That email was forwarded to Clinton’s private account from Abedin’s government email address.

In another note, Clinton expressed apparent dismay at leaks of classified U.S. government information to the media. Referencing a CNN story, which described “loose lips” in the Obama administration, she asked two officials if she should comment on the matter as had Leon Panetta, the former Central Intelligence Agency director.

“I think this is both dishonorable and dangerous and want to find way to say it,” she wrote.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said early Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings.

At the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a government one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device, rather than one for work emails and another for personal messages.

“Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices,” Clinton said. Her office that day released a statement saying she “wanted the simplicity of using one device.”

Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, a year before Apple Inc. released the iPad. Clinton at that time could have potentially split her accounts, reverting to an official State.gov email account and BlackBerry for work and leaving her personal email on her iPad.

Clinton has said she exchanged about 60,000 emails in her four years in the Obama administration, about half of which were work-related. She said none contained classified information, and that her private email system did not suffer any security breaches.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email server gave Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination should she run as expected, complete control over access to her message archives.

Clinton said she deleted emails — some 30,000 in total — that she described as personal in nature, such as yoga routines, plans for her mother’s funeral or her daughter’s wedding. It’s not clear how Clinton handled emails that mixed personal and official business, such as the exchange with Abedin.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, said Clinton wiped her email server “clean,” permanently deleting all emails from it and has declined to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review.

Clinton’s attorney said she had turned over to the State Department all work-related emails sent or received during her tenure and it would make no sense to turn over her server, since “no emails … reside on the server or on any backup systems associated with the server.”

The emails obtained by AP stem from several public-records requests filed with the State Department, starting in 2010. Most were unfulfilled until this week, when the State Department said it could find only four messages that met the search terms of one such request.

Earlier this month, AP sued the department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including those provided by the department this week.

The FOIA requests and federal lawsuit sought materials related to Clinton’s public and private calendars; correspondence involving aides likely to play important roles in her expected campaign for president; and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and controversial U.S. surveillance practices.

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Read the email exchanges: http://apne.ws/1Cqba3R

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Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report. Follow Jack Gillum on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jackgillum

Read next: Martin O’Malley Gears Up to Take on Hillary Clinton

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Indiana Religious-Freedom Law Emerges as 2016 Republican Litmus Test

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 26, 2015.
Michael Conroy–AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 26, 2015.

GOP presidential hopefuls race to the defense of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

The deepening controversy over Indiana’s new religious-freedom law became a litmus test for the 2016 GOP primary field on Monday, as a host of presidential hopefuls leaped to the defense of embattled Hoosier State Governor Mike Pence for signing the statute.

Likely Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum — as well as newly declared candidate Ted Cruz — each defended Pence for supporting Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has drawn sharp criticism from civic and business leaders across the country and reignited a debate within the GOP about how the party should handle divisive social issues.

The Republican contenders who weighed in sided with Pence, who party strategists say could still emerge as a White House contender himself. The cascade of support was a clear sign of the importance of the issue for the party’s social conservatives, who have increasingly rallied behind the cause as voters and the courts moved to legalize same-sex marriage in states around the country.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Monday evening, Bush said he believes Pence “has done the right thing.”

“I think if they actually got briefed on the law, they wouldn’t be blasting this law,” Bush, the former governor of Florida, said of the law’s critics. “Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level. This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs. To be able to be people of conscience. I think once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”

Bush said the law is designed to provide protections for people who have religious objections on all issues, including a Washington State case where a florist is being sued for refusing to service a same-sex wedding.

Rubio, a Florida Senator who is expected to announce his candidacy for President in Miami on April 13, said the statute was designed to codify religious protections rather than invite discrimination.

“I think the fundamental question in some of these laws is, Should someone be discriminated against because of their religious views?” Rubio said Monday on Fox News. “No one is saying here that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or a hotel because of their sexual orientation.”

Cruz, whose candidacy rests on appealing to the GOP’s evangelical base, praised Pence for standing up to critics of the law. “Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties,” he said in a statement. “I’m proud to stand with Mike, and I urge Americans to do the same.”

The controversy surrounding the bill, which Pence signed last week, came to a head over the weekend as Democrats, civic leaders and an array of large businesses — including Indiana companies like Angie’s List and Eli Lilly, as well as powerful tech firms like Apple, Salesforce and Yelp — condemned Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics contend the law would enable discrimination, particularly against LGBT Americans.

Nineteen other U.S. states have enacted versions of the law, which are similar to a federal version that passed Congress with bipartisan support in 1993 and was signed by then President Bill Clinton.

In an op-ed published Monday evening in the Wall Street Journal, Pence argued the law has been “grossly misconstrued” by critics. “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore,” he wrote. “As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it. Indiana’s new law contains no reference to sexual orientation. It simply mirrors federal law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993.”

Santorum tweeted his support of Pence, pledging to address it in a scheduled speech at George Washington University. Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a popular figure among the GOP’s Tea Party wing, also expressed support for the statute.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took a different tack from his likely GOP primary rivals by declining to immediately back Pence for supporting the legislation. Walker was noncommittal on the law on Monday, saying he doesn’t see a version of the bill making it to his desk in Wisconsin and declining to say whether he would sign it.

“As a matter of principle, Governor Walker believes in broad religious freedom and the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience,” said AshLee Strong, press secretary for Walker’s Our American Revival.

Democratic National Committee press secretary Holly Shulman blasted Bush, Rubio and Walker in a statement. “This just confirms what we already know about these three Republican presidential hopefuls, and is the most recent reminder that Republicans are focused on one thing — pursuing an out-of-touch agenda at the expense of everything and everyone else,” she said.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the Indiana law on Twitter last week. But RFRA laws have previously been widely supported by top Democrats, from Clinton’s husband to then Illinois state senator Barack Obama.

TIME 2016 Election

Uproar Over Religious Freedom Law Trips Up Indiana’s Governor

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015.
Michael Conroy—AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Mike Pence is on the defensive over a law decried as discriminatory

Spring wasn’t supposed to start this way for Mike Pence.

The Indiana Republican governor had planned to spend April finalizing the state budget and pushing a new education initiative, all while quietly staying above the fray of the 2016 presidential race while he watched the field take shape — and waited to see if an opportunity materialized. Instead, he has suddenly found himself under fire from gay-rights groups, business leaders and even the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. All because of backlash from a newly enacted law that he doesn’t seem to have seen coming.

The fallout continued Monday when Indiana business executives, including major health care providers and Internet companies, sent a letter to Pence urging him to clarify the law and expressing concern “about the impact it is having on our employees and on the reputation of our state.” The head of the NCAA, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis and is set to host college basketball’s Final Four there in April, raised the prospect of not holding championship events there in the future. And the band Wilco said it would cancel a May 7 show because the law “feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination.”

The law, officially called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and signed Thursday by Pence, prohibits any measure that would “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Supporters defend it as a protection of religious freedom at a moment when voters and courts have increasingly legalized same-sex marriage across the country — including in Indiana last year. Opponents decry it as an invitation for businesses to deny services to gay customers. And caught in the middle is Pence, who angrily defended the law and dismissed media coverage of it as “shameful” in a nationally televised interview on Sunday.

MORE: 5 Things to Know About Mike Pence

“There’s been shameless rhetoric about my state, and about this law, and about its intention all over the Internet,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “This is not about discrimination. This is about empowering people to confront government overreach.”

Pence, whose office didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday, is correct in noting that almost 20 other states have adapted similar measures and that the Indiana bill is similar to a federal law enacted by former President Bill Clinton. Illinois also passed a similar law with the support of then state senator Barack Obama.

“The issue here is still: Is tolerance a two-way street or not?” Pence said Sunday, echoing other conservatives in arguing that tolerance for religiously based opposition to same-sex marriage should be supported just like tolerance for gay marriage itself.

But there’s little question that the controversy has put Pence on the defensive at a time when his potential 2016 rivals are moving full speed ahead in the campaign.

A relative unknown on the national stage, the former Congressman has steadily built his conservative credentials both as a lawmaker and the state’s chief executive. He gave a keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, and is touted as a full-spectrum conservative who can unite fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and business-friendly establishment Republicans. While he hasn’t made the same moves toward a presidential campaign that some other Republicans have, his widely-known support from the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers could make him a potent candidate if he runs.

Now, though, he’s been forced to defend a legal framework that opponents dismiss as a relic of the past, even if it was one once supported by Clinton.

“If you’re perceived rightly or wrongly to be antigay, there’s not much political upside for that,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who ran John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “Laws like this unnecessarily put the two [GOP] wings in tension with each other and that’s unnecessary.”

Local lawmakers have said they’ll push language to clarify the bill and stem the fallout from within the business community, and Pence has signaled some openness to that. But sticking to his position might be the most surefire way to maintain conservative support at this point. After all, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who became a GOP front-runner after high-profile confrontations with organized labor, has demonstrated the potency of using a polarizing issue to gain conservative acclaim nationally.

“Governor Pence right now has the opportunity to win the Republican nomination by standing firm,” said Mike Farris, a conservative constitutional lawyer who in 1993 helped draft the federal bill singed by Clinton. “But if he weasels out of this in order to please the clamor from the mainstream media, he will lose any chance whatsoever of winning.”

Critics of the Indiana law have included presumptive Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Fellow Republican Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina joined the chorus Monday, saying a similar bill backed GOP lawmakers in the Tar Heel State “makes no sense.”

“What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I haven’t seen it at this point in time.”

It may not end up mattering much for Pence’s long-term political hopes if he ultimately doesn’t run this time. And a Republican fundraiser close to Pence pegged the chances of him doing so at less than 10%. Still, in one of his first major forays onto the national stage, even Republicans acknowledge that Pence let opponents outmaneuver him in defining the policy.

“This is a case where the opposition groups defined this bill around discrimination before Mike Pence and supporters of it could definite around religious liberty,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who advised Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns. “And it’s created a political headache for Mike Pence as a result of that.”

MORE: What You Need to Know About Indiana’s New Law

TIME 2016 Election

5 Things to Know About the Governor Behind Indiana’s Controversial New Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 26, 2015.
Michael Conroy–AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 26, 2015.

Meet Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence waded into a fervid national controversy last week when he signed into law a bill that critics say would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians in his state. A relative unknown on the national stage until recently, the Republican found himself facing protests and sharp questions over the weekend. The measure Pence signed says Indiana can’t “substantially burden” the religious freedom of people, businesses and associations in the state. But critics say it’s a blank check for discrimination, and would allow businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians. Pence defended the law Sunday, telling ABC: “This is not about discrimination this is about empowering people to confront government overreach.”

It may not be the best national publicity for Pence, who has been called a “dark horse” for the Republican presidential nomination. Here are five things to know about the man in the news.

Pence hasn’t ruled out running for president

The Indiana governor has long been floated as a possible presidential candidate, and Pence backers tout his conservative credentials. Pence has said he will decide whether to make a run for the GOP nomination at the end of April at the earliest, citing his focus in the meantime on his budget and education agenda in Indiana.

MORE: What You Need to Know About Indiana’s Controversial New Law

Pence has dropped hints that he’s looking earnestly at a candidacy. “Some say the next [presidential] nominee in our party should be a governor, and I’m certainly sympathetic to that view,” Pence joked last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

He hasn’t done much lay the groundwork, though. While Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz are all actively raising money for a White House contest, Pence would be making a late start.

He is a favorite of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers

Support from the Koch brothers and GOP donors in general are a key factor in any presidential campaign, and the Koch brothers are known to think highly of Pence. Their political group, Americans for Prosperity, has been drawing attention to Pence’s work in Indiana as a hallmark of good governorship. And Pence’s former chief of staff now runs a Koch political enterprise called Freedom Partners. With the Koch brothers planning to spend nearly $1 billion in the 2016 cycle on conservative candidates, Pence could be a major beneficiary if he runs.

His father was oil distributor who ran gas stations in Indiana

Pence’s father was a businessman, a bit of family history that always plays well in elections. Edward Pence was an Army veteran and operated several gas stations, and Pence’s grandfather was a Chicago bus driver who immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the early 1920s.

He’s a former talk-show radio host

Pence produced “The Mike Pence Show,” which aired on 18 radio stations in the mid 1990s, and hosted a morning TV show in Indianapolis from 1995 to 1999. After his stint in radio, Pence tread the well-beaten path from radio studio to Washington, where he served 12 years as a Congressman from Indiana and rose to a position in House leadership before being elected governor in 2012.

Pence’s backers say he can appeal to all the wings of the Republican Party

Many of the GOP presidential hopefuls have a serious Achilles heel. Staunch conservatives dislike Jeb Bush’s positions on immigration and education, and Cruz is loathed by many in the establishment wing of the party as a hard-liner who is unable to compromise. But Pence’s supporters say he may be able to appeal to all wings of the GOP, bridging a divide between the business-friendly establishment faction, the small-government Tea Party faction, and the social conservative faction. The religious freedom bill Pence signed last week may have flopped initially on the national stage, but it will likely appeal to more religious primary voters.

TIME

Martin O’Malley Gears Up to Take on Hillary Clinton

Martin O'Malley
Patrick Semansky—AP Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks with reporters at a polling place in Baltimore on Oct. 30, 2014.

A once-deferential Democrat has started to assert himself

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has a reputation for being a bland, if dutiful, Boy Scout, unwilling to make waves in a Democratic Party that seems ready to crown Hillary Clinton its nominee.

But perhaps that goodie two-shoes persona is no more.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, O’Malley seemed ready for the first time to put up a real fight for the nomination, portraying himself as the Democrats’ true progressive warrior and slamming Clinton, albeit with glancing blows, for being next-in-line for the royal presidency.

Lumping her in with the Republican presidential front-runner Jeb Bush, O’Malley said, “The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust … to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.” He went on to call for “new leadership and new perspectives,” and for “a president who’s willing to take on powerful, wealthy special interests.”

When asked if Clinton would be the one to take on those special interests, O’Malley didn’t exactly bite, but he did show some teeth: “I don’t know where she stands,” he responded, gamely. “Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? Well, I don’t know.”

Those new found fightin’ words rocketed O’Malley into the headlines, raising questions of whether he is the liberals’ greatest hope for a challenger to Clinton, who they see as too centrist and too tied to Washington and Wall Street elites. In recent months, the activist left has mounted a feverish campaign to draft liberal hero Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren into the race. (Warren has said repeatedly that she is not running.) Other potential challengers include Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who would run far to Clinton’s left, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who would right to her right on some social issues.

Among that rather anemic field, O’Malley, who was mayor of Baltimore for seven years, governor of Maryland for eight, and led the National Democratic Governors Association in 2012, is now the clear front-runner of the second tier contenders for the Democratic nomination. He brings with him fund-raising capabilities and infrastructure that neither Sanders nor Webb have readily available. He also has a strong liberal record as Maryland governor, where he passed legislation tightening gun control, legalizing same-sex marriage, ending the death penalty, and expanding access to marijuana. More recently, he has gone on the offensive on economic and Wall Street reform—the beating heart of the progressive movement—calling for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, a law that separated investment banking from commercial banking, and that was repealed in 1999 under President Bill Clinton.

But as of now, liberals and progressives are eyeing his potential with skepticism. O’Malley’s biggest challenge, after all, remains formidable: almost nobody knows who is is.

In early presidential polls, Clinton routinely polls over 60%, while O’Malley clocks in as just slightly better than a blip, at under 2%. This week, he is again scheduled to visit New Hampshire, the site of the first Democratic primary.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Democrats Caught Up in Controversial Indiana Religious-Freedom Law

Mike Pence
Michael Conroy—AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announces that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has approved the state's waiver request for the plan his administration calls HIP 2.0, during a speech in Indianapolis.

Obama, Clinton have backed similar religious-freedom bills

Indiana’s new religious-freedom law, which has prompted calls for a state boycott because it might permit discrimination against gays and lesbians, was made law by a Republican governor and Republican legislature. But the controversy could also ensnare leading Democrats like President Barack Obama, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who previously supported bills with similar effects years ago.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago,” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence on ABC’s This Week, defending his state’s actions by pointing to similar federal legislation. “Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature.”

The Indiana law prohibits the state from enacting statutes that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Critics argue it could be used to allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans in the state, prompting criticism from executives at companies like Apple, Salesforce.com and the NCAA, which will host the men’s Final Four basketball tournament in Indianapolis next weekend.

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and aides to President Obama have also criticized the law. “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love,” Clinton tweeted over the weekend.

But the Indiana law was modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) introduced by then Representative Chuck Schumer, who is now a senior Democratic Senator from New York, and signed into law in 1993 by then President Bill Clinton. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 97 to 3 in 1993. “The power of God is such that even in the legislative process, miracles can happen,” President Clinton joked at the time of the bipartisan consensus.

Unlike the federal law, which is focused on restricting government action to protect religious freedom, the Indiana version has a broader scope, potentially giving new rights to claim religious beliefs for private parties, like wedding-cake vendors who do not want to serve gay couples.

As an Illinois state senator in 1998, Obama also voted in favor of a version of the new Indiana law. Years after that law passed, Illinois passed an explicit ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, making clear that the law could not be used to deny service between private parties. That provision is not on the books in Indiana.

Despite weighing in on other controversial legislation in states, including this month’s passage of an anti-union bill in Wisconsin, Obama has not commented on the Indiana law, leaving his aides to critique it.

“Look, if you have to go back two decades to try to justify something you are doing today, it may raise some questions about the wisdom of what you’re doing,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. Obama ducked a question on the Indiana law Saturday from reporters before departing on a two-day golf vacation to Florida.

The 1993 federal RFRA formed the underpinning of last year’s Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court, which allowed some employers claiming religious objections to avoid providing contraceptive coverage to their employees as required by the Affordable Care Act.

In a contentious interview with NPR’s Terry Gross last year, Hillary Clinton repeatedly called same-sex marriage a state issue when explaining her decision to reverse her opposition to such unions after leaving the State Department. She has yet to weigh in on whether she believes same-sex marriage should be protected at the federal level, even as the Supreme Court is set to hear cases that would do just that in the coming months.

Asked by Gross if her views on gay rights had changed since the 1990s, Clinton said, “I think I’m an American, I think that we have all evolved, and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations that I’m aware of.”

David Axelrod, a former top political aide to Obama, wrote in his book published last month that Obama believed in same-sex marriage before he ran for the White House, but hid that position for political reasons.

 

TIME Rand Paul

Rand Paul Proposes Boosting Defense Spending

Sen. Rand Paul Vaccine
Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

His amendment would add $76.5 billion to the defense budget

Just weeks before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is completing an about-face on a longstanding pledge to curb the growth in defense spending.

In an olive branch to defense hawks hell-bent on curtailing his White House ambitions, the libertarian Senator introduced a budget amendment late Wednesday calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years—a roughly 16 percent increase.

Paul’s amendment brings him in line with his likely presidential primary rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who introduced a measure calling for nearly the same level of increases just days ago. The amendment was first noticed by TIME and later confirmed by Paul’s office.

The move completes a stunning reversal for Paul, who in May 2011, after just five months in office, released his own budget that would have eliminated four agencies—Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Education—while slashing the Pentagon, a sacred cow for many Republicans. Under Paul’s original proposal, defense spending would have dropped from $553 billion in the 2011 fiscal year to $542 billion in 2016. War funding would have plummeted from $159 billion to zero. He called it the “draw-down and restructuring of the Department of Defense.”

But under Paul’s new plan, the Pentagon will see its budget authority swell by $76.5 billion to $696,776,000,000 in fiscal year 2016.

The boost would be offset by a two-year combined $212 billion cut to funding for aid to foreign governments, climate change research and crippling reductions in to the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce and Education.

Paul’s endorsement of increased defense spending represents a change in direction for the first-term lawmaker, who rose to prominence with his critiques of the size of the defense budget and foreign aid, drawing charges of advocating isolationism. Under pressure from fellow lawmakers and well-heeled donors, Paul in recent months has appeared to embrace the hawkish rhetoric that has defined the GOP in recent decades. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February Paul warned of the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). “Without question, we must now defend ourselves and American interests,” he said. Asked about federal spending, he added, “for me, the priority is always national defense.”

The amendment was filed on the same day as House Republicans overwhelmingly supported a plan to alter their budget to give billions more to the Pentagon.

It’s not the first time that Paul has adjusted his position on a foreign policy matter to find greater appeal within his own party. Early in his Senate career, Paul advocated for the elimination of all aid to foreign governments, including Israel, but after criticism has since backtracked on that proposal.

Paul’s change-of-heart on the budget highlights the importance of the funding document to many likely presidential candidates. In addition to the increased defense spending, Rubio provided a roadmap to his all-but-certain presidential campaign, introducing over 25 amendments stating his desire to deliver weapons to Ukraine, create education tax credits, strengthen pro-life legislation, weaken collective bargaining agreements and ensure Medicare wouldn’t be “raided” by Obamacare.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is considering a presidential run, pointed to Rubio’s measure to increase defense spending as an example of how budget votes will impact the 2016 race. “That’s a great amendment,” says Graham, one of the Senate’s preeminent foreign policy hawks. “I think if you voted against Marco’s amendment you’d be probably on the outside of most people in the primary.”

Outside of Congress, other GOP presidential candidates have used the budget process to insulate themselves from tough political questions. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has relied on his outsider status to avoid commenting on everything from immigration to the gas tax. In New Hampshire earlier this month, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dodged a question on securing the border by pointing toward dysfunction in Washington.

“I think that Congress needs to pass a budget and put conservative priorities on the table,” he said at a house party. “And in that budget there are ways that you could show the opposition to the use of executive orders, and so I hope they do that, and I hope they fully fund the department of homeland security…because how else are we going to secure the border. This is the only way that we can do it.”

“I think we need to increase spending on defense and homeland security,” Bush added.

Read next: Why Rand Paul is Attacking Ted Cruz

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TIME Campaign Finance

How Super PACs Are Taking Over

US-VOTE-REPUBLICANS
Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images US Senator Ted Cruz( R-TX) smiles at the crowd while delivering remarks announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination to run for US president March 23, 2015, inside the full Vine Center at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va.

A new breed of high-dollar outside groups is reshaping the 2016 presidential race

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he no longer listens to classic rock, but he still found a way to channel the lyrics of John Lennon when he launched his presidential campaign. “Imagine,” he told students at Virginia’s Liberty University on March 23, repeating the refrain 38 times in a half-hour stem winder that felt less like a campaign speech than a guided tour of a conservative Valhalla.

The dreamy slogan may have seemed out of whack for the firebrand politician. But in some ways Cruz was just following the lead of an independent group that hopes to make him President.

Weeks before Cruz climbed onstage, the Stand for Principle PAC printed and passed out T-shirts and placards that read “Imagine Ted Cruz as President.” The group’s organizer, Maria Strollo Zack, says helping Cruz promote his message is just the start. Zack wants to raise as much as $50 million—perhaps more than the campaign—to pay for anything from television ads to grassroots outreach. “We’re rewriting the book on how super PACs can be leveraged,” she says.

So are Cruz’s rivals. Likely candidates such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker have been deeply involved in setting up their outside-spending vehicles, installing top staff and drawing down funds to pay for early voter contact, including trips to primary states. Such efforts are the latest way to game the traditional campaign-finance system, which limits the amount of money individuals can give to candidates and forbids direct donations from corporations. The Cruz super PAC, for instance, is barred from directly coordinating campaign spending or strategy with Cruz, but it is able to raise and spend unlimited sums on the candidate’s behalf while collecting money from just about anyone.

In 2012 super PACs were used as blunt instruments of destruction: the group backing Mitt Romney devoted about 90% of the $142 million it spent overall to TV attack ads. But in the 2016 presidential race, these organizations are poised to play a much bigger role, taking over more-traditional campaign duties ranging from field organizing and voter turnout to direct mail and digital microtargeting. “They are becoming de facto campaigns,” says Fred Davis, a Republican media consultant who ran former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential super PAC in 2012.

Campaign-finance watchdogs say that super PACs, which were created in the wake of two 2010 court rulings, undermine spending limits that have governed elections for generations and allow high-dollar donors to amass influence that Congress has long sought to prevent. The new crop of super PACs are now pushing boundaries in ways that were unimaginable just five years ago. “The sky’s the limit.” says Carl Forti, a GOP strategist who co-founded the Romney super PAC in 2012.

Many Republican hopefuls have delayed their official campaign announcements so they can spend more time and energy seeding their outside groups. Bush, the former Florida governor, has been dropping in on donors’ conclaves across the Republican Party’s wealthiest precincts, soliciting massive checks for his Right to Rise super PAC. Mike Murphy, Bush’s longtime senior adviser, is expected to stay at the super PAC to orchestrate its strategy rather than migrate to the campaign.

Walker’s high-dollar outside group, Our American Revival, is run by the Wisconsin governor’s future campaign manager, Rick Wiley, who—like Walker’s spokesperson, senior political advisers and key field staff in states like Iowa and New Hampshire—is drawing a salary from the organization until the formal campaign kicks off. Former New York governor George Pataki charged up to $250,000 per head at a fundraiser for his group, We the People Not Washington, which features a form on its website for supporters to request a meeting with Pataki. And as Hillary Clinton marches toward a likely campaign launch, her super-PAC supporters at Ready for Hillary are laying the groundwork by adding to their email rolls and signing up a flurry of new members for the group’s finance council.

Much of this activity exploits a legal loophole. “What’s unique,” says Anthony Corrado, chairman of the board of trustees at the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, “is candidates becoming associated with a super PAC before embarking on a campaign.” Building early receptacles for large checks may also limit the amount of time candidates are forced to spend raising money later on.

As the balance of power shifts toward super PACs, the strategists running them are studying the ways outside committees can be more than just attack machines once the campaigns take flight. “Every super PAC will have to decide what their mission should be and how they want to game plan,” says Austin Barbour, who will run former Texas governor Rick Perry’s super PAC if Perry jumps into the race. “But we’re in a post-TV age.” Super PACs will take on a variety of new tasks over the next year, from grassroots organizing and micro-targeting to digital operations. “Those will all be a part of any well-run super PAC this cycle,” predicts a GOP strategist running another likely presidential candidate’s outside group.

The question no one has an answer for yet is how a super PAC’s time and money can dovetail with the campaign’s efforts instead of duplicating them. Since such groups are barred from coordinating strategy with campaigns after the candidates declare, they may struggle to run complementary data or field operations. But campaign-finance watchdogs worry the rules will be flouted because there’s nobody to enforce them. “It’s open season,” says Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, who notes that three of the six members of the Federal Election Commission—the agency in charge of overseeing political spending—view money as a form of speech and are ideologically opposed to reining it in. And while the Department of Justice can prosecute violations of campaign-finance law, experts predict they will be wary of doing so except in extreme cases.

Candidates will be able to send strategic cues in public statements that super PACs can pick up on. But campaign strategists say the anything-goes legal landscape could ultimately cause problems for the indiscreet. “Someone’s going to get popped,” one predicts. “The question is who and when.”

After his speech at Liberty, Cruz began a fundraising tour that would whisk him to meetings with New York financiers, Texas investors and other executives. Within 36 hours, he said he had raised more than $1 million for his actual campaign. The cash infusion was overdue: Cruz’s coffers are already dwarfed by those of rivals like Bush. As a federal officeholder, Cruz hasn’t had the same freedom to work with his super PAC.

But the outside group will be there to help him with his stated strategy—to win the nomination by mustering a grassroots army that mixes the Tea Party faithful with the social conservatives who dominate the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. And at the head of the brigade is an old pal: Cruz’s college roommate and debate partner David Panton, a Jamaican-born Atlanta private-equity executive who cut the super PAC its first $100,000 check last November. “I think he should be President,” Panton says. “It requires a lot of money to run a presidential campaign.”

Zack says the Senator can live on less cash than his rivals but insists that support will be there when he needs it. After all, Stand for Principle can get Cruz himself to juice fundraising by appearing at its events, as long as he does not ask for the money directly. Just imagine the possibilities.

With reporting by Zeke J. Miller and Michael Scherer/Washington

Read next: 3 Things Ted Cruz Could Learn From Taylor Swift

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TIME Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina’s Anecdotal Campaign

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.

She doesn't have any legislative experience, so she talks about life experience instead

If you want to hear about health care, Carly Fiorina will talk about her fight with breast cancer. If you want to know about the economy, she’ll talk about working as a secretary in a small real-estate firm. If you want to learn about ISIS, she’ll even cite her degree in medieval history.

It seems that Fiorina has a personal anecdote for just about every policy question.

As she prepares to join the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has put together a well-polished set of personal stories for use on the stump. In recent weeks, she’s used the same anecdotes in speeches to very different audiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative women’s organization and a group of investors.

To be fair, every presidential candidate relies on stock anecdotes about themselves. As he launched his campaign Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz talked at length about his dad fleeing from Cuba and his wife selling bread in elementary school.

But as one of the only candidates with no prior political experience (former neurosurgeon Ben Carson is the other), Fiorina is unusually dependent on personal stories. Without a track record of votes, bills or executive actions to point to and, like many candidates at this stage, without a well-developed policy playbook, she has only her own history.

During an event on leadership and technology in Virginia Wednesday morning, she was asked by a member of the audience about innovation in government. Her response: health care.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” she said. “So I understand how important it is to make sure that people can get care despite pre-existing conditions or that people have access to quality affordable health care regardless of their circumstances.”

At a conference on women and leadership in Virginia Saturday, she talked about how social welfare programs have created a “web of dependence” for people who need help.

“Every one of us needs a helping hand sometimes,” she said. “When I battled cancer, I needed many helping hands. When my husband Frank and I lost our younger daughter Lori from the demons of addiction, we counted on the kindness of strangers.”

One of Fiorina’s favorite all-purpose anecdotes is the fact that she graduated from Stanford with a degree in medieval history and philosophy. It never fails to draw chuckles from the crowd when she brings it up, which she does, often.

She used it to knock President Obama’s comments on ISIS during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): “I was fortunate enough to enroll in Stanford University where I would earn a degree in medieval history and philosophy. All dressed up and nowhere to go. That degree has come in handy recently since our President, he’s talking about the Crusades. Yes Mr. President, ISIS indeed wants to drive the whole world back to the Middle Ages, but the rest of us moved on about 800 years ago.”

Other times, she uses her liberal arts degree to talk about education policy. At the event Wednesday, Fiorina was asked about whether education should be more vocational. She said, “While I joke that my medieval history and philosophy degree prepared me not for the job market, I must tell you it did prepare me for life… I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”

Sometimes she segues her degree into a discussion of small businesses. After graduation, she felt unprepared for the job market, so she tried law school. She hated it, dropped out after one semester and got a job as a secretary to pay the bills. “I filed and answered the phones for a little nine-person real estate firm,” she said at CPAC. “Most Americans get their start the way I did: in a small business. The dry cleaners, the coffee shops, the hairdressers and the real estate firms of American Main Street create most of our new jobs and employ half of our people. So if we want more jobs, we need more small businesses.”

Anna Epstein, press secretary at Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential Project, says these stories are how Fiorina gets through to the audience.

“Carly has always related to people at a personal level,” Epstein said. “Like all of us, her experiences shape her world view. People relate to story telling more easily than they relate to numbers and figures.”

Fiorina hasn’t said exactly when she’ll announce a run for the White House, but whenever it is, you can be sure she’ll tell some of these anecdotes in her speech.

TIME 2016 Election

Ted Cruz Is Signing Up for Obamacare

Despite being vehemently opposed to Obamacare

Ted Cruz is signing up for insurance under President Obama’s health care law.

The Texas Republican Senator and newly-announced presidential candidate, known for his staunch opposition to the Affordable Care Act, told CNN on Tuesday that he will be joining the millions of Americans enrolled in insurance under the law.

“I believe we should follow the text of every law, even [a] law I disagree with,” Cruz said. “It’s one of the real differences—if you look at President Obama and the lawlessness, if he disagrees with a law he simply refuses to follow it or claims the authority to unilaterally change.”

Cruz, who announced his candidacy on Monday, will no longer have health insurance after his wife went on unpaid leave from her Goldman Sachs position.

MORE: Read TIME‘s 2013 profile of Texas Senator Ted Cruz

[CNN]

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