TIME Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton Comes Out in Force to Defend His Foundation

Clinton Global Initiative University
Larry Marano—Getty Images Former US President Bill Clinton attends the Clinton Global Initiative University at University of Miami on March 7, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

A response to a barrage of unflattering revelations in the press

Bill Clinton joined his allies in defending his family’s foundation in an open letter on Friday, emphasizing the charity’s philanthropic work in the face of criticism over its foreign donors and alleged entanglement in politics.

“It’s the political season in America, so the purpose and impact of the efforts your support makes possible has largely been ignored in recent coverage of the Foundation,” the former president said in his note. “But we are and always have been a non-partisan, inclusive foundation with lots of support from and involvement by people across the political spectrum and governments from right to left, all committed to our creative solutions-centered work.”

Clinton recounted in his note many of the charitable deeds the Foundation has accomplished around the world, including “helping smallholder farmers in Africa increase their yields” and supporting “women entrepreneurs in Latin America.” Nearly 10 million people in 70 countries have access to HIV/AIDS medicines through the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Clinton wrote.

“We will also continue to look for ways to improve our reporting systems so that we can operate as accurately, efficiently, and transparently as possible – a goal to which we have been committed since day one,” said Clinton in the note.

The Clintons’ allies have voiced their support of the family’s charity in recent days as well, with Foundation donor Jay Jacobs penning a blog post Thursday saying one reason voters should elect Hillary Clinton is her connection to the Foundation. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s previous presidential election and former advisor in President Clinton’s administration, wrote an op-ed published earlier this week in the Huffington Post defending the Foundation.

The Clinton Foundation has come under fire for accepting donations from foreign businesses and governments with business before the U.S. State Department, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. No specific evidence of intervention on behalf of donors has been found, though in several cases the foundation failed to abide by Clinton’s pledge to disclose all donors during her tenure.

Bill Clinton has also been criticized for giving speeches and making appearances that appear to benefit foundation supporters on the global stage. This week, the foundation came under further scrutiny when it was revealed that Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend and adviser of the Clintons, had a $10,000 a month job at the foundation doing unspecified work during the time he was providing Hillary Clinton with purported intelligence tips about activities of various political factions in Libya.

In recent weeks both Bill and Hillary, who is now running for president, have defended the foundation. Hillary said during an event in Iowa last week that she is “proud of the foundation,” and Bill said earlier this month in an interview with NBC that the charity has never done anything “knowingly inappropriate.”

TIME

Hillary Clinton Team Lays Out New Primary Blueprint

<> on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sits with a customer as she visits the Main Street Bakery on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.

The campaign is building, but slowly

Hillary Clinton will gradually ramp up her campaign throughout the summer, but it will be months before she turns completely to a more orthodox model replete with a packed public schedule of billboard events and the regular appearance of husband Bill and daughter Chelsea, top Clinton campaign officials said on Thursday.

The former Secretary of State will present a more detailed reasoning behind her candidacy at her first official campaign rally on June 13, top Clinton officials told reporters in a briefing at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters Thursday evening. Afterward, Clinton will begin holding larger speaking events in the primary states.

But Clinton will not significantly increase the pace of her campaigning for many months, and she will continue to hold the roundtable discussions that have marked the first six weeks of her presidential bid.

Read more: Hillary Clinton Faces the Limits of the Controlled Campaign

She will roll out more policy plans over the summer, but she will do it at a measured pace without any momentous announcements all at once. And while Chelsea and Bill will make an appearance at her June 13th announcement, campaign officials said the focus will be on Hillary in the coming months.

Clinton had originally planned to hold her official kickoff at the end of May, but the campaign pushed the rally back.

While Clinton and her top aides have insisted they plan to run a serious and competitive primary, her opponents former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lag far behind her in the polls, allowing the frontrunner freedom to run a campaign on her own terms.

Clinton’s schedule has so far included a couple of days each week or less of campaigning in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. She has held small-scale, roundtable discussions with a selected group of primary voters in Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa that officials say allow her to connect with voters and frame her policy ideas.

Clinton’s relaxed pace of campaigning will slowly increase and will begin to include a broader mix of campaign events and venues.

The campaign officials said they hope to raise $100 million through the primary, discounting rumors about a $2-billion fundraising goal. The $100 million sum does not include donations raised by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Clinton super PAC.

Clinton’s aides insisted that the campaign has not been significantly damaged by criticism over the Clinton Foundation and her role at the State Department, saying that while those issues may rile up the Republican base, they do not register much with primary Democrats and Independents.

The campaign would not provide more details on the location for the June 13 event, but said that it would be a large, public event.

TIME Chris Christie

Chris Christie to Pull New Jersey Out of Common Core

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Julio Cortez—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The move could help Christie in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will announce Thursday he is pulling his state out of the Common Core education standards, bowing to pressure from teachers and parents, as well as conservative fears about government overreach.

Christie, who is expected to declare his candidacy for President in the coming months, began a review of the standards a year ago, just as the issue began bubbling up in town-hall meetings in New Jersey and on the campaign trail.

Developed as a bipartisan proposal by state governors and states’ chiefs of schools six years ago, Common Core has become increasingly toxic politically among conservatives. Several Republican governors who initially supported the Common Core have backed out in recent years, and others have worked hard to distance themselves from it.

Christie’s announcement comes the same day that a lawsuit regarding Common Core, initiated by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who once supported the standards, was heard in a Baton Rouge court. Jindal is suing the U.S. Department of Education for allegedly “coercing” states into adopting Common Core by tying $4.35 billion in federal funding from Race to the Top, and waivers from No Child Left Behind, to the adoption of high standards.

The Obama Administration has moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that states were never required to adopt Common Core in particular, but instead to adopt any “rigorous standards” of their choosing. Forty-six states signed onto Common Core after it was finalized in 2010.

“It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted. And the truth is that it’s simply not working,” Christie will say in a speech at Burlington County College in New Jersey on Thursday afternoon. “It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents. And has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work.”

The move sets up a contrast between himself and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who remains a supporter of the standards. While Bush has distanced himself rhetorically from the policy, choosing not to use the words Common and Core, his education foundation helped fund and advocated for their implementation nationwide. Ohio Governor John Kasich, a likely GOP contender, has also stood up in defense of Common Core, condemning those in his party who have turned their back on them.

“Sometimes things get to be political and they get to be runaway Internet issues,” Kasich said in New Hampshire in March. “We don’t want the federal government driving K-12 education, and in my state — the state of Ohio — that is simply not the case.”

The reversal comes as Christie’s political fortunes are at a crossroads. His poll numbers have continued to wane from the lingering effects of the politically motivated closure of approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge and a weak fiscal picture in the Garden State. But Christie is pegging his hopes for success on New Hampshire, the libertarian-minded state where the Common Core standards are especially divisive.

Christie is tasking David Hespe, the commissioner of the state’s department of education, to lead a panel that will develop a new set of standards for the state.

“I have heard far too many people — teachers and parents from across the state — that the Common Core standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents,” Christie will say according to prepared remarks from his office. “As a result, the buy-in from both communities has not been what we need for maximum achievements. I agree. It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our communities. I agree. It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our communities.”

Common Core has also been a major bone of contention in Democratic states, where opposition to the standards is linked to objections to an uptick in standardized testing. Last year, Chicago schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett tempted federal sanctions by announcing that she did not intend to force her students to take the tests associated with Common Core. Tens of thousands of New York State students also opted out of the Common Core testing regime.

TIME fashion

This Is How Much Hillary Clinton’s Pantsuit Costs

Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the 2015 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award in Washington
© Joshua Roberts / Reuters—REUTERS Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the 2015 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award in Washington March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTR4UKB6

Dressing like a presidential hopeful is not cheap

As Hillary Clinton graces stage after stage during her 2016 presidential campaign, she’s sure to be wearing her signature look: the pantsuit.

Her campaign has even made light of her penchant for pantsuits by selling a t-shirt version of the trademark style. You can buy the “Everyday Pantsuit Tee” for $30.

The real thing will cost you a tad more, up to $1,400.

Jackets by designer Nina McLemore—who has sold Clinton many a pantsuit, according to Politico—will set buyers back between $500 and $1,000. Pants cost about $400.

The outspoken designer, who also dresses Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, is selling more than just clothes. She also encourages women to embrace fashion as a powerful communication tool.

“I personally think it’s hard for women to have charisma, where some men have it in spades. We can’t change the fact that we’re women, but we can put forth our best image for the result we want,” she told Politico.

TIME 2016 Election

The Republican Presidential Contest Has a Polling Problem

Buttons featuring Republican presidential hopefuls on display during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City on May 21, 2015.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Buttons featuring Republican presidential hopefuls on display during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City on May 21, 2015.

Pollsters say the field is too big for accurate polls

National primary polls have never been so important—or so meaningless.

Nine months before the first votes are cast, these fickle numbers have become a make-or-break metric, determining whether a candidate will toil in obscurity or find a moment in national spotlight.

Fox News, the host of the first Republican debate, announced earlier this month that it will average the five most recent national polls that meet its standards in the week before on Aug. 6, and invite the top 10 finishers on stage. CNN announced that for the second debate in September, it would average national polls from two months prior, adding an average of early state polling as a tiebreaker.

Yet pollsters warn that the current methodology is ill-equipped to accurately measure such a sprawling field of potential candidates. The difference between the 9th and 13th place finishers in polls, where several candidates get less support than the margin of error, can be arbitrary. Candidates, meanwhile, have begun to complain that national polls mainly measure name identification, and national televised media exposure, ignoring the crucial role that early primary and caucus states play in the selection of the nominee.

“I think it’s strange that they aren’t taking early state polls, since that’s where candidates are placing their resources,” said an aide to one Republican candidate who does not yet qualify for the first debate. “In terms of the [Republican National Committee], they wanted to have this process, but I think it’s funny that they didn’t want the media picking candidates anymore except they are allowing media companies to do exactly that.”

“You can’t use polls to make very fine distinctions among candidates—such as who is in 10th place vs. 11th place,” says John Sides, a George Washington University Professor and co-founder of the popular political science blog Monkey Cage. “Even an average of several polls will have enough underlying uncertainty that you won’t be able to clearly distinguish who should be in and out.”

In Thursday’s Quinnipiac poll seven candidates are tied with each other—at zero percent—owing to the ±3.8 percentage point sampling error.

In a letter to members of the RNC Friday, Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon safely on the debate stage with poll numbers in the high single-digits, urged a change. “In the past this type of rule has been used to keep ‘fringe’ candidates off the stage,” he wrote. “None of these men and women deserves this exclusion.”

“I’m probably the best person to comment on this,” former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told National Journal Friday. “In January of 2012 I was at 4 percent in the national polls, and I won the Iowa caucuses…And so the idea that a national poll has any relationship to the viability of a candidate—ask Rudy Giuliani that. Ask Phil Gramm that.”

It’s in Santorum’s interest to undermine the polling standards. The 2012 runner-up’s national numbers are dismal—he polled at zero percent in a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday.

As a practical matter, polling in the U.S. has grown more difficult as American attention spans have dwindled and more people have moved to cell phones. The gold standard—live surveys, conducted by actual human questioners—has grown more difficult as people cut phone lines to their homes. Most reputable surveys now include cell phone lines in an effort to ensure those who have cut the cord are represented.

But polling in primaries is has always been difficult. Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University, wrote in 2011 of the difficulties endemic to polling in nominating fights. “The candidates in a primary election are of the same political party and typically differ in only minor ways in their political positions, so it is easier for voters to change their opinions,” he wrote. “Primary election campaigns can be highly unequal too, with different candidates pouring their efforts into different states. And during the heat of primary season, voters may have only a week or two to make up their minds in light of the news from the most recent primaries elsewhere.”

“Primary polls can fluctuate a great deal depending on which candidate is getting news coverage,” adds Sides. “And that news coverage may arise because of events that really aren’t that significant. For example, Herman Cain’s victory in the meaningless Florida straw poll catalyzed news coverage and his poll numbers. So there is the question of whether, at any particular point in time, good poll numbers are really indicative of a viable candidacy.”

And in a field with at least 15 candidates, it’s even tougher.

“You can’t poll 15 candidates and expect voters to keep paying attention,” scoffs one 2016 strategist, suggesting that poll accuracy will suffer because only those willing to sit through a long list of names won’t hang up.

For much of the cycle so far, news outlets and pollsters have only polled subsets of candidates for just this reason, including just the top eight or 10 candidates at a given moment in their surveys. Many reputable surveys of the 2016 field have chosen to exclude potential 2016 contenders, like Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Others have excluded longshots like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or former HP CEO Carly Fiorina. The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday is one of the first national polls to include all 16 Republican candidates.

Douglas Schwartz, the director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, tells TIME that typically they try to keep the list of candidates to a manageable six or eight, but that with the field so large and with support so diffuse, that they had to ask about all of them. It’s not without complication.

“We haven’t encountered the first issue in terms of people hanging up,” he said. It’s just more of an issue that so many of these candidates are not well known and that it’s tough for people to keep all the names in their head.”

The problem is not limited to polling, Schwartz adds. “It’s tough when you’ve got eight candidates and you’re asking people to try to get to know all eight candidates, research the background and learn the biography of people who are all pretty similar because they’re in the same party,” he said. “Now double it. It’s hard for voters too.”

But even those who make the cut shouldn’t be cheering either when in reality activists in a handful of states will decide.

TIME 2016 Election

George Pataki Enters Presidential Race

Former New York governor faces steep uphill battle

Former New York Gov. George Pataki launched his long-shot presidential bid Thursday with a video announcement on his website and a rally planned for later in the day in New Hampshire.

The Republican left office in 2006 after serving three terms, including during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which factor heavily into his announcement. The four-minute video features Pataki speaking directly to the camera and walking in Lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center site retelling his experiences in the months and years after the attacks. After a montage of patriotic imagery, it closes with footage of Pataki gazing at the newly rebuilt One World Trade Center building

“We need to recapture that spirit, that sense that we are one people,” Pataki says. “When we do, we will stop empowering politicians and empower ourselves with the opportunities to have an unlimited, bright future.”

In a Quinnipiac University national poll of the Republican field released Thursday morning, Pataki received no support, and he faces a steep uphill climb even to make the debate stage in August. In a New Hampshire WMUR poll this month, Pataki placed at 2% in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

TIME 2016 Election

Clinton Faces Biggest Threat From Rubio and Paul in New Poll

Hillary Clinton
Rick Friedman—Corbis Former Secretary of State and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greeting supporters at a round table discussion at the Smutty Nose Brewery in Hampton, N.H. on May 22, 2015.

Republican voters are split on who should be their nominee

The fight for the Republican presidential nomination is wide open, but only two GOP candidates currently take the fight to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found the GOP field split evenly between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Each earns 10% in a poll of potential Republican primary voters and caucus-goers.

Against Clinton though, only Rubio, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul—who polls at 7% nationally among Republicans—would pose a threat if the election were held today. Clinton scores 46% to 42% against Paul, and 45% to 41% against Rubio, the poll found. All other Republicans poll multiples behind Clinton.

The national survey holds limited predictive value in a race that will start off as a contest among early-state activists, but it will contribute to the culling process for the first GOP debate. Fox News, which is hosting the Aug 6. gathering, will invite the top 10 Republican candidates based on an average of national surveys.

Under the Fox News rules, the rest of the debate stage, according to the Quinnipiac poll, would include Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, reality TV host Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be among those excluded.

On the Democratic side, Clinton leads with 57% of potential Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 15% and Vice President Joe Biden, who has not indicated he will run, with 9%. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is set to launch his campaign on Saturday, polls at just 1%.

A majority of voters—53 %—believe that Clinton is not trustworthy, but they give her high marks on leadership and caring about people like them. Rubio and Paul perform best among voters on those categories, while Bush, who is expected to announce raising as much as $100 million for his presidential bid next month, faces skepticism from voters, a plurality of whom believe he doesn’t care about the needs and problems of people like them.

The Quinnipiac survey of 1.711 registered voters—including 679 Republican and 748 Democrats—was conducted from May 19-26, 2015. The overall sample as a margin of error of ±2.4 percentage points, while the Republican primary figures has a margin of error of ±3.8 points and the Democratic primary has a margin of error of ±3.6 percentage points.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina Shadow Dance In South Carolina

<> on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Joe Raedle—2015 Getty Images Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the South Carolina House Democratic Womens Caucus and the South Carolina Democratic Womens Council at their Third Annual Day in Blue in the Marriott hotel on May 27, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina echoed and opposed each other in South Carolina on Wednesday

At twin events in South Carolina on Wednesday, rivals Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina spoke about equal pay within hours of each other, each blaming the other’s party for not doing enough to fight for women’s rights in the workplace.

“I don’t think I’m letting you in on a secret when I say too many women still earn less than men on the job,” Clinton told a roomful of mostly South Carolina women. “We could fix this if Republicans would get on board.”

“Before the federal government or Hillary Clinton lecture others,” said Fiorina, “maybe they ought to look into their own offices or look into the seniority system and the federal government.”

Like doppelgangers parading on different sides of a funhouse mirror, Clinton and Fiorina echoed each other even in their opposition.

Clinton was speaking from inside the Columbia, S.C. Marriott hotel; Fiorina spoke from outside the same hotel a few hours earlier. Clinton gave a speech and took no questions; Fiorina bragged about how accessible a candidate she has been to the press compared with her Democratic counterpart. Clinton, a dominant frontrunner among the Democrats, never mentioned Fiorina; Fiorina’s event seemed planned specifically to antagonize the former secretary of state.

For Clinton, it was a chance to reconnect with South Carolina voters after badly losing the primary to Barack Obama in 2008. (During the last election, Bill Clinton appeared to write off Barack Obama’s victory in the state by comparing him with Jesse Jackson, another black candidate who never won.)

Fiorina, on the other hand, was shadowing Clinton, continuing her ceaseless criticism of the Democratic candidate in an effort to gain some much-needed attention in the press.

“Our events tomorrow are all open to the press,” Fiorina’s spokeswoman, Sarah Flores, wrote in an email to reporters Tuesday night, jabbing at the Clinton campaign. “And by ‘open press,’ we mean we’ll actually take questions.”

Clinton’s speech was one of the first true speeches of her campaign. She made a case for equal pay and forcefully criticized Republicans for not fully embracing an equal pay platform. She listed four specific measures to improve pay for women, including legislation that allows women to sue for wage discrimination, requiring pay transparency, and paid leave and flexible scheduling.

Clinton’s ideas aren’t new: she long advocated for equal pay legislation as senator of New York, and paid leave has become a fixture of liberal politicians’ platforms around the country. She repeated her claim that equal pay is “not a women’s issue, this is a family issue” and an American economic issue.

What is new to her candidacy, however, is Clinton’s sharp language for Republicans who she says are responsible for holding back similar legislation. Without mentioning any Republican presidential hopefuls by name, she mentioned Scott Walker’s comment that equal pay is a “bogus issue”—though she mistakenly called him a candidate, a declaration he has not yet made. Her other two jabs at Republicans were directed at Marco Rubio who said Congress was “wasting time worrying” about equal pay, and Rand Paul, who has said equal pay efforts remind him of the Soviet Union.

Fiorina said she “of course” supports equal pay for equal work, and said that a seniority system in the federal government “allows a man to watch pornography all day long in the federal government” and earn the same as “a woman sitting next to him trying to do a good job.”

Fiorina also claimed that Clinton does not pay women equally in her own office. The Clinton campaign has not yet released details about its expenditures and salaries. As a senator, Clinton paid women and men equally for the same jobs, according to figures released by her campaign and reviewed by PolitiFact.com.

TIME 2016 Election

Mad Rush to Hire 2016 Campaign Staff Brings Out the Beggars

Jeb Bush
Jim Cole—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Draft restaurant, Thursday, May 21, 2015, in Concord, N.H.

It is a great time to be an operative in Iowa or New Hampshire

It’s enough to make a campaign get on its knees and beg. Literally.

Such was the scene earlier this month at Rocket Man, a dueling pianos joint in Columbia, S.C. A top aide in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign-in-waiting dropped to one knee and asked a respected South Carolina operative to reconsider her decision to join rival Mike Huckabee’s run at the Republicans’ Presidential nomination.

Hope Walker, who most recently was the state director for the South Carolina GOP, told her suitor that she was sticking with Huckabee and there was no need for Bush to phone her. Bush communications maven Tim Miller shook his head, stood up and moved onto his next potential hire at the other end of the bar. Miller is still wooing that operative.

For GOP campaigns looking to build a payroll of experienced aides, this is the new normal: lots of courtship and many promises.

With more than a dozen—and perhaps eventually as many as two dozen—contenders at various stages of preparation for a White House bid, the fight for staff is fierce. Promises of access to the candidate, special titles and bloated salaries are the new chits for the small subset of political professionals who have run campaigns before.

And that’s before the outside groups, the super PACs and the nominally apolitical groups such as Americans for Prosperity or the League of Conservation Voters start building their teams. Those groups are ramping up their staffs and activities, fueled by donors who can give an unlimited amount of cash. In turn, it’s becoming a bidding war.

Operatives who have networks in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina stand to be the campaign’s most obvious profiteers.

“It is harder to find this time because there are so many candidates or likely candidates,” said a veteran operative to Presidential hopefuls and a current adviser to a top-tier candidate who has yet to formally enter the race. “The supply isn’t here to even meet the demands. There is a dynamic that it feels like there is a shortage of staff.”

Part of it is more than a feeling. Take New Hampshire, which is scheduled to have the nation’s first primary on Feb. 9, 2016. In non-presidential years, elections there are typically used to build a bench of talent and train them for the coming White House runs. That didn’t happen in 2014; Senate hopeful Scott Brown imported many of his aides from across state lines in Massachusetts, and gubernatorial nominee Walt Haverstein ran a lackluster race that no one wants to repeat.

The result is what one aide calls a BYOS dynamic: Bring Your Own Staff. Miami-based Miller was at Bush’s side last week in New Hampshire on a trip to New Hampshire. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had his Madison-based aides with him on a recent trip. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has no plans to hire New Hampshire-based communications aides and sent a former Trenton-based adviser to New Hampshire to lay the groundwork for a potential run.

Even Sen. Kelly Ayotte had to import talent for what could be a tough re-election bid in 2016. The de facto head of the New Hampshire GOP recruited a campaign manager, Ben Sparks, from his most recent campaign helping Dan Sullivan win a Senate race in Alaska.

It is a dynamic that is playing out in the other states, and at national headquarters, where finding bodies to put into jobs is taking up a lot top campaign aides’ time.

“With the potential for 19 candidates, anyone who has a hint of a resume gets to be a political director or a state director,” said an established political adviser who has four Presidential campaigns on her resume. She, however, is sitting this campaign out despite repeated phone calls from presidential hopefuls and their staffs.

“Their pitch was: ‘Whatever you want,’” she said. She is passing even though she is leaving potentially hefty paychecks on the table. Her 2012 job paid her $10,000 a month and she figures she could have more than doubled that in 2016.

None of the declared or likely candidates has filed campaign finance reports that would indicate salary levels for the 2016 race. But among the sought-after operatives—friends to each other in non-election settings—they speculate some of the top staff hires are earning as much as $35,000 each month.

To be sure, there is money to be made Presidential politics. In late December of 2011—days before Iowa’s caucuses—then-state Sen. Kent Sorenson resigned from Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Presidential campaign to join Rep. Ron Paul’s. According to his plea deal in a campaign finance case, he received $73,000 for the defection. And that was over a move from a sixth-place finisher to a third-place candidate in 2012.

With 2016 looming, the price is only increasing. “They’re inflating the prices of these guys,” said a longtime adviser to a former governor chasing the nomination. “They know it’s a short run and they want to milk it for all it’s worth,” he added.

TIME rick santorum

Rick Santorum Starts Presidential Run Looking Back

Leaning on Republicans' traditions, he makes the case that 2016 is his turn

Correction appended, May 27

Rick Santorum was closing out his speech to the GOP’s governing class at a posh desert resort near Phoenix. His time to address the Republican National Committee coming to a close, he took a moment to remind the party’s elders of their history. “We stick with tradition,” the former Senator from Pennsylvania said in early May.

With restless party chairmen and activists shifting in their seats, the failed 2012 candidate made a not-so-subtle pitch for the Santorum for President, 2016 Edition, which started on Wednesday, with a rally in Cabot, Pa.

“Since primaries and caucuses went into effect, every Republican nominee has met one of three tests,” Santorum said in Arizona. “One, they were Vice President. Two, they were the son of a former President. And three, they came in second place the last time and ran again and won.”

If history were predictive of how Republicans pick their nominee, then 2016’s nomination should be Santorum’s for the taking. He came in second to Romney in 2012 and, in his telling, won as many nominating contests as Reagan did during his 1976 bid. (In truth, Reagan won 11 primaries in 23 states, whereas Santorum won a combined 11 contests in states that held primaries and caucuses.)

But history alone is not going to overcome Santorum’s significant obstacles as he seeks the White House for a second time. With a penchant for incendiary language, a stronger crop of likely competitors, an expected nine-figure deficit against his rivals for the nod, few of his competitors now count him in the top tier of candidates, and there are serious questions about him even making the cut for the first debate on Aug. 6.

“I know what it’s like to be an underdog,” Santorum said in Pennsylvania’s Butler County on Wednesday, beginning an uphill climb for the nomination. “Four years ago, well, no one gave us much of a chance. But we won 11 states. We got 4 million votes. And it’s not just because I stood for something. It’s because I stood for someone: the American worker.”

But this time, Santorum faces a tougher field of competitors. Fresh-faced newcomers, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have the GOP optimistic it can appeal beyond its shrinking footprint. Conservative rock stars such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas can electrify crowds. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee can tap into his past as a Baptist pastor and whip the Christian conservative base of the party into a frenzy. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has the pedigree and roster of campaign donors that might overshadow missing other traits voters say they are seeking.

Santorum, out of office since early 2007 after losing reelection by 18 percentage points, can do none of those. He is 57—a decade older than some of his rivals and roughly in the middle of the pack when it comes to birthdays. He fails to energize conservative audiences with speeches that are closer to college lectures than political rallying cries. He speaks about his faith in deeply personal ways but cannot match Huckabee in the pulpit. And Santorum is an admittedly terrible fundraiser, often turning off would-be donors with his contrarian style.

“The last race, we changed the debate,” Santorum told his kick-off rally. “This race, with your help and God’s grace, we can change this nation. Join us.”

His crowds so far this year have been thin. But Santorum is used to that. He toiled in relative obscurity in 2011, visiting all 99 Iowa counties in the passenger seat of an activist’s pickup. He staged a surprise win in the leadoff caucuses but had insufficient infrastructure to capitalize on Iowa’s enthusiasm.

Instead, he turned to often divisive and cantankerous rhetoric. For instance, Santorum could seldom open his mouth with unleashing an invective about others and cast himself as a victim. He called Romney “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” He said John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech, in which the future president said “the separation of church and state is absolute,” made the Pennsylvania Senator “want to throw up.” Santorum promised that, as President, he would talk about “the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea.”

Earlier this year, Santorum told NBC News that his 2012 campaign was defined by “dumb things” he said and “crazy stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with anything.” He acknowledges things went off the rails the further into the nominating process he hobbled, even as his campaign was running out of cash and the White House nod grew increasingly impossible to snag.

Even so, Santorum crowed to a tea party crowd in South Carolina earlier this year: “I was the last person standing.” He earned 234 pledged delegates to the party’s nominating convention in Tampa. Romney had amassed more than 1,400.

Even so, Santorum tells voters and reporters his political endurance qualifies him to become the nominee this time. He insists he is battle-tested under pressure, unlike his rivals.

“As you’ve seen, Commander in Chief is not an entry-level position, and the White House is the last place for on-the-job training,” Santorum said Wednesday.

Santorum has his history right. Mitt Romney was rewarded the nomination in 2012 after failing to win it in 2008. John McCain’s 2000 failed run was rewarded with the nomination in 2008. Bob Dole won the nomination in 1992 after an unsuccessful turn as the GOP’s 1976 Vice Presidential nominee. George H.W. Bush was the nominee in 1988 after losing to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 primaries and then serving eight years as his Vice President. Reagan himself won the 1980 nomination after failing to win the nod in 1976. Richard Nixon won the White House in 1968; he served eight years as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Vice President before losing the Presidency as the GOP nominee in 1960.

Only four times in the last 60 years has the Republican electorate nominated a Presidential neophyte—and the most recent examples are suspect at best. George W. Bush, the son of a President, won the White House in 2000 as a first-time national candidate. Gerald Ford rose to the Presidency after Nixon’s resignation and lost the White House in 1976 to Democrat Jimmy Carter as a first-time coast-to-coast candidate. Barry Goldwater came up short as the GOP nominee in 1964, and Eisenhower won the 1952 nomination and Presidency as a first-time political candidate.

But those figures—new and veteran—ran sophisticated campaigns and had not alienated great swaths of the GOP. Santorum’s situation looks different, with several of his former top advisers having defected for other campaigns: 2012 campaign manager Mike Biundo is a Paul senior adviser. Spokespeople Hogan Gidley and Alice Stewart have signed with Huckabee. Even Santorum’s erstwhile driver from 2012, Chuck Laudner, has abandoned him—for Donald Trump.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date of the first Republican presidential debate. It is Aug. 6.

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