TIME 2016 Election

Trump Forming Exploratory Committee for 2016 Presidential Bid

<> on February 27, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is forming a presidential exploratory committee for 2016, marking the fourth election cycle since 1999 that the eccentric real estate mogul has flirted with a White House bid.

“I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble,” Trump said. “I am the only one who can make America truly great again!”

Trump said in a statement that he has made “several key hires” in early primary states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and has a staff of political advisers based in New York.

Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, declined to give further details about the businessman’s staff or his exploratory committee. “I can confirm that he remains serious about running for the office of the presidency,” said Cohen. “Specifics will be released by Mr. Trump in a short period of time.”

Trump has a long-standing habit of feigning at a run for the White House. In 2011, he delayed the renewal of his hit television show The Celebrity Apprentice and fanned speculation he was running for president, only to announce he was not running. Trump said in run-up to 2004 he was “very seriously” mulling a bid, and in 1999 he formed an exploratory committee and considered running that year as an Independent.

This year, Trump has said he’s “more serious than ever before” about running for president, a trope he also invoked in 2011. “A lot of people think I’m doing this for fun, they think it’s good for my brand,” Trump said last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. “I’m not doing this for fun. I’m doing this because we have to take our country back.”

The flashy and outspoken star of The Celebrity Apprentice would face significant challenges if he chooses to run for president. Nearly three-quarters of GOP primary voters said they couldn’t see themselves supporting Donald Trump in a presidential run, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, uniting more Republicans against his candidacy than any other potential candidate.

In 2000, Trump said he supported federal single-payer health care, a platform that is wildly unpopular among conservatives, and at one time supported a net worth tax of 14.25% on all Americans worth more than $10 million to repay the national debt.

Trump has a booked travel schedule in the next three months, Cohen said, and will be speaking often in the early primary states. He be in New Hampshire this Thursday to meet with local veterans and business owners.

Cohen said Trump has not yet renewed his show The Celebrity Apprentice.

“Nobody in the history of television has turned down a renewal,” a political advisor to Trump, Corey Lewandowski, told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “But Mr. Trump can do that.”

TIME 2016 Election

Half of Americans See the Future in Hillary Clinton, Poll Says

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at Georgetown University in Washington in Dec. 2014.
Carolyn Kaster—AP Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at Georgetown University in Washington in Dec. 2014.

But almost as many see the past

Half of Americans think Hillary Clinton represents the future better than any other potential 2016 presidential candidate, according to a new poll, but almost as many Americans think she represents the past.

The results of the CNN/ORC survey released Wednesday both belie the argument by Clinton critics that Americans will view the former Secretary of State and First Lady as a return to old ways in Washington but also point to the political polarization likely to greet her campaign if she runs as expected. The poll, which asked whether seven potential candidates represent the future or the past, also found that 64% of Americans think Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Vice President Joe Biden represent the past.

Women were especially likely to view Clinton has a representation of the future, at 55%. Among Democrats, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has said she’s not running, trailed Clinton in the future index with 46%, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was first among Republicans with 43%.

The CNN/ORC survey 1,027 adults, conducted Feb. 12-15, had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Read next: Jeb Bush Says ‘I Am My Own Man’ on Foreign Policy

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME 2016 Election

Here’s Bobby Jindal’s Response to a Racial Controversy Over His Portrait

"You mean I'm not white?"

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal responded with humor Monday when asked about controversy over a portrait that depicts the Indian-American governor with light skin.

“You mean I’m not white?” he joked at a Christian Science-Monitor breakfast.

The portrait in question, which shows Jindal with skin shades darker than it actually is, attracted widespread ridicule on Twitter, including questions like “Who’s the white guy?” A spokesperson for the governor accused bloggers discussing the Jindal’s skin color in the portrait of “race-baiting” last week, and Jindal described the uproar as “silly” on Monday.

“I think the left is obsessed with race,” Jindal said Monday. “I think the dumbest thing we can do is to try to divide people by the color of their skin…. This is nonsense. We’re all Americans.”

Jindal, a potential contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination, has been an outspoken critic of thinking in racial terms. In a 2013 Politico op-ed, he decried the “age of hyphenated Americans.”

“It’s time for the end of race in America,” he wrote. “Now that would be progress.”

- Additional reporting by Zeke J. Miller

MORE: Why a Bobby Jindal Portrait Sparked a Racial Controversy

TIME 2016 Election

Clinton Leads Republicans in Key Swing States, Poll Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Carolyn Kaster—AP Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington on Dec. 3, 2014.

Early lead for the presumptive Democratic front-runner

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is starting her likely presidential campaign ahead of many of her Republican rivals in a trio of key swing states, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed Clinton beating most Republican contenders in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Republicans with home-state advantages fare better against the presumptive Democratic front-runner. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is tied with Clinton in his state, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is tied with Clinton in his state.

But Clinton trounces three other potential candidates—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee—in all three states by double-digits. No candidate has won the presidency without securing at least two of these three swing states since 1960.

The survey, conducted Jan. 22-Feb. 1, has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points in Florida and Ohio, and 3.3 percentage points in Pennsylvania.

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Enters Vaccinations Debate to Rebuke Likely 2016 Rivals

2014 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple Of Hope Award
Taylor Hill—Getty Images Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on Dec. 16, 2014, in New York City

"The science is clear," Clinton tweeted

Former U.S. Secretary of State and likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton re-emerged on the political scene Monday evening to critique several likely rivals.

In a tweet, Clinton dismissed those who believe that vaccinations are linked to autism, hours after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul suggested that parents be granted some element of control over what inoculations their children receive. Her public comments follow a period of relative quiet from Clintonland as she gears up for an all-but-certain presidential campaign in 2016.

On Monday morning, Christie said parents should have “some measure of choice” over how their children are vaccinated, when asked about an outbreak of measles in the U.S. His office later backtracked, saying the dad of four believes “with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate.”

In a contentious interview with CNBC on Monday afternoon, Paul said he didn’t see why his position that most vaccines should be voluntary would be controversial. “For most of our history, they have been voluntary. So I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

“I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” Paul added, repeating claims that have extremely dubious scientific grounds.

Clinton’s statement follows something of a change of heart from 2008 when she filled out a survey from a group known as the Autism Action Network, saying, “I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.”

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Quits Business Jobs as 2016 Looms

Jeb Bush Miami
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Jeb Bush speaks to the media while handing out holiday food baskets in Miami on Dec. 17, 2014.

Republican looks to avoid Mitt Romney's fate

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has begun to wind down his business affairs as he considers a run for president in 2016, with the Republican hoping to avoid the criticism Mitt Romney endured for his business background in 2012.

Bush is quitting Tenet Healthcare Corp., the Los Angeles Times reports, and is ending a consulting contract with Barclays Bank. He has stopped giving highly-paid speeches. Aides had signaled last week that such moves were coming, after Bush announced that he would “actively explore” a 2016 White House run.

In the 2012 presidential race, Romney drew persistent fire from Democrats for his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Bush was involved in a number of major financial ventures since his time as governor ended in 2007. That year, Bush was hired as a financial advisor to Lehman Brothers, the New York firm that dealt in sour mortgages and collapsed ignominiously during the global financial crisis. He switched to Barclays after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. For both firms, he mostly consulted on macroeconomic trends and policies, a spokesman told the Times.

Bush also served on the Board of Directors of Tenet Healthcare Corp., which supported the 2010 health care reform law loathed by conservatives and saw revenues rise because of it. His role there could draw fire from Republicans in the primary campaign.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME 2016

George W. Bush: ‘50-50’ Chance Jeb Bush Will Run in 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks at an event at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C. on Sept. 24, 2014.
Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks at an event at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C. on Sept. 24, 2014.

"I'd give it a toss up," the former president said in a Sunday interview

Former President George W. Bush said the chances his brother and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will run for president in 2016 are “50-50.”

“He’s not here knocking on my door, you know, agonizing about the decision,” he said in a Sunday Face the Nation interview. “He knows exactly — you know, the ramifications on family, for example. He’s seen his dad and his brother go through the presidency. I’d give it a toss up.”

Bush said his father and fellow former president, George H. W. Bush, taught him that the presidency is still a worthy pursuit despite those “ramifications.”

“The priorities of your life don’t have to be compromised,” he said. “I know Jeb’s priority is his family. A priority is his family. I also know it’s his country. And his deep faith. And he has seen that you don’t have to sell those out in order to be a politician.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Calls for a Women’s ‘Movement’ Ahead of Elections

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Charlie Neibergall—AP Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa.

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for a women’s “movement” on economic issues ahead of the midterm elections.

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election,” the presumed 2016 Democratic front-runner said. “We need people to feel that they’re part of a movement, that it’s not just part of an election, it’s part of a movement to really empower themselves, their families and take the future over in a way that is going to give us back the country that we care so much about.”

Clinton was speaking on a panel at the liberal Washington think tank Center for American Progress.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who shared the stage with Clinton on Thursday, have pushed to make women’s economic issues the forefront of the party’s 2014 campaign. Democrats lost the female vote in 2010 for the first time since the Reagan era, and with it control of the House and six Senate seats. They are trying to avoid a similar Republican wave this year. “Why now? What is our strategy? Well, it’s because we want women to vote,” Pelosi told the crowd.

The issue is also near and dear to Clinton’s heart. Many of her advisors from her failed 2008 campaign say that, in retrospect, she should have emphasized the historic nature of her campaign more. Clinton lost women to Barack Obama in nearly half the primaries they fought.

As Secretary of State, Clinton focused on bolstering international support for women and girls. In her second political appearance after resigning from that office more than a year ago, Clinton kept her focus on those topics. “We talk about a glass ceiling, but these [minimum wage] women don’t even have a secure floor under them,” she said at the time.

The Democratic leaders lamented Thursday what they called Republican obstruction of the women’s economic agenda in Congress. The GOP has blocked Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage—which disproportionally affects women—to $10.10 an hour, to fund universal pre-Kindergarten and other expanded child care efforts, paid maternity and paternity leaves and paid medical leave.

Clinton noted that by stymying women’s access to the workforce, the U.S. leaves 10% of increased GDP “on the table.”

“The argument is grounded in reality, but unfortunately the reality is not the context that these decisions are being made,” Clinton said. “Unfortunately, the Congress… is living in a reality-free zone. Politicians have to listen, and if they don’t it’s at their own peril.”

TIME 2016 presidential election

Iowa’s Leftwing Anti-Hillary Voters Look to Bernie Sanders

Though neither has declared their candidacy, dueling events show Democratic divisions

(Des Moines, Iowa)It is perhaps telling that the host of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ event Sunday night in Des Moines, Dave Swinton, has just rushed back from the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, where Hillary Clinton made an appearance the same day, flipping red meat and hinting at a run.

The 50-year-old senior pastor plans on caucusing for Clinton if she runs in 2016, and his wife, Shari, couldn’t resist the opportunity to take the whole family out to the event just 30 miles south. Swinton left most of his family behind while former President Bill Clinton was speaking so he could make it back in time to set up for the Sanders event scheduled in the basement of his Des Moines church, Grace United Methodist.

Swinton is curious to hear Sen. Sanders, an Independent, speak. A progressive group Swinton often works with has rented out his church’s basement for the event.

“Hillary seems to be the strongest candidate, and I have a lot of confidence in her leadership,” he says, taking a break from setting up chairs. “I thought her speech today hit all the right notes.”

Swinton’s political leanings show the uphill battle in store for a politician like Sanders in trying to gain traction in the 2016 Democratic primaries, should he decide to challenge the 800-pound shadow gorilla in the race, the former Secretary of State.

At the 37th annual Harkin Steak Fry—where Hillary Clinton received the tacit endorsement of Iowa’s powerful Democratic senator and Steak Fry host Tom Harkin— earlier Sunday afternoon, a crowd of more than 10,000 roared in approval when she hinted that she may just run again.

“Hi, Iowa,” Clinton yelled. “I’m baaaack!”

By contrast, Sanders’ event was a relatively low-key affair attended by more than 450 people–still a decent crowd, considering the next caucuses are more than 16 months away. Most who showed were left-leaning populists who supported John Edwards in 2008 and consider themselves solidly in the anti-Clinton camp.

“I like the issues Bernie’s hitting, his anger, because I’m angry,” says Mark Brooks, 62, an Air Force veteran who believes Clinton is too “corporate” to be a good president. “This isn’t the country I defended,” he adds.

Sanders’ message resounded with Brooks. Sanders noted, “We have more people living in poverty than any other time in the history of the United States of America,” touching on 2008-era Edwards’ populist message on poverty.

“It’s a crying shame!” a man yelled in the audience.

“It is a crying shame,” Sanders replied.

Calling for a new jobs program, investment in education and the public funding of elections, Sanders highlights that economic disparity in America has never been greater.

In his speech, Sanders rattles off figures that point to the unfairness that many of his supporters are most concerned about: that top 25 U.S. hedge fund managers made $24 billion last year, or the equivalent of the annual salaries of 450,000 public school teachers. That Walmart is now the largest employer in America while the Walton family, which owns Walmart, possesses as much wealth as the bottom 40% of all earners in America.

“It’s called indentured servitude!” another man yelled—at the top of Sanders’ speech, the politician encouraged “small-d” democratic participation, or what other candidates might consider heckling.

“Sometimes, it is,” Sanders answered gravely.

Right now, Sanders, who would have to switch parties to run for the Democratic nomination, is Clinton’s only major competition on the progressive left. But that doesn’t mean liberals aren’t hungering for some more competition. Stephen Blobaum, 51, a Des Moines salesman, also caucused for Edwards in 2008. He and his father, Reed Blobaum, 79, came to see Sanders speak and support his fire, but both are holding out hope that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will make a run.

“She’s my girlfriend,” Reed Blobaum says with a cheeky smile. “’We admire what Bernie’s doing, but she’s an accomplisher. She gets things done. And Hillary needs to get done.”

TIME States

See Governor Rick Perry’s New Mugshot

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.

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