TIME 2016 Election

The Secret Meanings Behind the Names of Presidential Super PACs

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.

Long before the campaign buttons and bumper stickers, today’s presidential candidates must create an outside fundraising committee. And while they aren’t always in total control of these groups, the names can be secret decoder rings that explain the central themes of the campaigns they are preparing.

Here’s a look at the names of five groups backing 2016 candidates and what they might signal.

Right to Rise

What is it? A leadership PAC and a separate super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida

Where does the name come from? The “right to rise” was coined by a historian to describe President Lincoln’s views on economic opportunity. After Rep. Paul Ryan used the phrase, Bush wrote a guest editorial about it in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

What’s it mean? The name is a sign that Bush intends to focus on pocketbook issues for the middle class, which has been stuck with stagnant wages for more than a decade. The fact he embraced the term was also a key tipoff that Ryan was not going to run.

Our American Revival

What is it? A tax-exempt 527 organization

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Where does the name come from? Walker used the phrase “our American revival” in a recent statement critiquing President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

What’s it mean? The term “revival” has religious undertones that Walker, a preacher’s kid, surely recognizes. It’s also a sign he intends to run as a bold, populist counterpoint to Obama’s tenure in Washington.

Leadership Matters for America

What is it? A political action committee

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey

Where does the name come from? Christie used the phrase “leadership matters” during his 2012 keynote speech at the Republican presidential convention for Mitt Romney.

What’s it mean? Christie is running on his own personality and leadership style. He intends to highlight his time as governor as well as his brash and sometimes confrontational style to contrast himself with Obama and his Republican opponents.

Stand for Principle

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Where does the name come from? In a 2014 speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Cruz argued that Republicans need to “stand for principle” in order to win elections.

What’s it mean? Cruz intends to run as the conservative choice among the Republican field, with an orthodoxy at the center of his message that will contrast him against past nominees such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, not to mention current contenders like Christie and Bush.

Ready for Hillary

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Where does the name come from? The super PAC was formed by Clinton supporters to build lists of grassroots supporters and recruit major donors before she announced a campaign.

What’s it mean? The name doesn’t portend much about Clinton’s campaign, since she didn’t choose it, at least not personally. But it does take on a central theme of the emerging Clinton juggernaut—the notion that America is now “ready” for a female president and that it’s Clinton’s turn after her 2008 primary loss.

TIME 2016 Election

Chris Christie Launches PAC in Preparation for 2016 Presidential Run

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie speaks at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines
Jim Young—Reuters Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie speaks at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 24, 2015

Several other Republican candidates have long-standing political groups as well

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie launched a federal political action committee, or PAC, Monday as he seeks to lay the groundwork for a likely 2016 presidential campaign.

The new group, Leadership Matters for America PAC, will allow the 52-year-old to travel the country to raise money and support like-minded politicians, but it can’t specifically advocate on his behalf. The launch comes two days after Christie appeared at a conservative cattle call in Iowa, where he sought to prove he could reach out to a skeptical party base.

The PAC’s website features a smiling Christie holding court at one of his signature town halls, and its mission statement hews closely to Christie’s rapidly developing stump speech. News of the PAC’s formation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“America has been a nation that has always controlled events and yet today events control us,” it states. “Why? Because leadership matters. It matters if we want to restore America’s role in the world, find the political will to take on the entrenched special interests that continually stand in the way of fundamental change, reform entitlement spending at every level of government, and ensure that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to a quality education.”

Former Republican National Committee Finance chairman Ray Washburne, who announced earlier this month he would step down to take a position with Christie, will hold the same role for the new group. Former Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox and longtime Christie strategist Mike DuHaime will serve as political advisers. Matt Mowers, the outgoing New Hampshire GOP executive director, and Phil Valenziano, a former aide to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, will be the PAC’s on-the-ground presence in those two presidential early states.

Earlier this month, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush launched a leadership PAC and a super PAC in preparation for his presidential run. Several other Republican candidates have long-standing political groups as well.

Christie is set to return to Iowa on Feb. 9 to address the Dallas County Republican Party, and has planned trips across the country in coming weeks to fundraise and boost his political profile. He is not expected to make a final decision on his candidacy until the spring.

TIME 2016 Election

Christie Seeks Common Ground With Iowa Conservatives

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie arrives to speak at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines
Jim Youg—Reuters Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie arrives to speak at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie brought a clear message to skeptical Iowa conservatives Saturday: We may not always agree, but you can work with me.

Christie spoke toward the end of a daylong 2016 presidential cattle call hosted by Iowa Representative Steve King, highlighting his fights with unions in his home state and his pro-life stance on abortion. Christie’s participation in the event turned heads, given King’s hard-line position on immigration and the audience’s more conservative bent. Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney both skipped the event on account of scheduling issues, and proved to be frequent targets on stage from other would-be candidates and activists.

Christie has spent years trying to reach across the aisle in preparation for a presidential run but has been dogged by questions whether he could win over the party’s base.

“I have heard and read all the conventional wisdom that somehow a guy from New Jersey would not be welcomed or understood at the Iowa Freedom Summit — that somehow I’m too loud, I’m too blunt, and I’m too direct,” Christie said, as the crowd chuckled. “The conventional wisdom from Washington, D.C., that says we aren’t friends … They’re wrong again today.”

King used his introduction to boost Christie’s conservative credentials. “He vetoed the gay-marriage bill in New jersey,” he said. “He is pro-life.” Christie has since declared gay marriage a “settled” issue in his state after the state supreme court declined to stop same-sex unions in 2013.

Speaking calmly and slowly, Christie was self-effacing about “the blunt New Jersey stuff,” using it to introduce himself to Iowa voters with the story of his childhood.

“In a trusting relationship, you need to tell people what you really believe and what you’re thinking,” he said, noting he’s sure that not everyone would agree with him on every issue. “You’ll always know who I am, you’ll always know what I believe, and you’ll always know where I stand.”

He argued that if the party is looking for purity, “we will never win another national election. Ever.”

Reading off prepared remarks, Christie’s speech was an amalgamation of his notable addresses of the past several years, presenting the clearest preview of a full-fledged presidential stump speech.

“The next century does not have to be a Chinese century,” he said, calling for stronger American leadership overseas. “The world can’t do without a second American century.” His opposition to abortion was juxtaposed with his efforts in improving his state’s drug treatment programs to be “pro-life” at all stages of life.

He highlighted his electoral success in his blue home state, noting he won Hispanic voters and made inroads with black voters in his last election.

“We need a coalition that covers all parts of the country, all ethnicities, a coalition that is comprised at its core of our proud, yet underserved and underrepresented working class in this nation,” he said, in an implicit critique of former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. He even alluded to growing income inequality, adding, “The rich are doing fine, that’s great. We don’t demonize the wealthy like so many folks in the Democratic Party, but nor should we cater to the wealthy at the expense of our middle-income workers and the working poor who are the backbone of every American community.”

Christie’s reception paled in comparison to Senator Ted Cruz, whose faith-themed address was red meat for the audience. But Christie accomplished what he sought out: demonstrating he is unafraid to appear before social conservatives and proving that he could even earn a standing ovation. In a crowded field where he will hope to have the support of the party’s establishment, that may be enough to go the distance.

TIME governors

Chris Christie Has Been Gifted 77 Weight-Loss Books While in Office

<> on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey.
Andrew Burton—2015 Getty Images New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Titles include The Macho Man Diet and Leave the Cannoli, Take the Weights

Of the 1,100 gifts Chris Christie has received from the public since taking office five years ago, 600 are books, 77 of which are about diet, weight loss, exercise or bariatric surgery.

The gifts include CDs, DVDs and kits, NJ.com reports, and they come from authors and readers alike. Even Dr. Mehmet Oz sent the New Jersey governor a copy of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.

While Christie has thanked supporters who’ve noticed his weight loss since his bariatric surgery two years ago, he prefers to keep the topic of his size a private matter. We’re guessing not all 77 of these titles have a permanent home on the Christies’ bookshelves.

[NJ.com]

TIME 2016 Election

Christie’s State of the State Focused More on the Nation

Chris Christie
Julio Cortez—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address on Jan. 13, 2015, in Trenton, N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered his fifth State of the State address Tuesday, but it sounded more like a presidential announcement.

Less than two years away from Election Day, Christie sent his firmest signal yet that he intends to run for the White House in 2016, with a decidedly national theme, coming off a 2014 spent traveling the country on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidates. “We need a New Jersey renewal and we need an American renewal,” Christie declared several months before he is expected to make his candidacy official.

The speech comes a day after Christie secured the backing of former Republican National Committee Finance Chair Ray Washburne for his future presidential campaign and a day before Christie is scheduled to attend a meet-and-greet with donors in South Carolina, a presidential early state.

Teasing at a possible presidential campaign theme, Christie says what he saw across the country during his travels was “a nation beset by anxiety.”

“It is understandable,” Christie said, delivering an implicit critique of the Obama administration. “Economic growth is low by post-war recovery standards. America’s leadership in the world is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency.”

“We need to address this anxiety head on,” he continued. “We need to renew the spirit and the hopes of our state, our country and our people.”

Christie’s remarks contrast his leadership of New Jersey with the “Washington way,” hailing his own conservative record of opposing tax increases and holding up his leadership of the state as a model for the nation.

The governor devoted much of his address to highlighting his efforts to tackle drug addiction and mental health in the state, announcing the creation of a statewide call number to allow those in need with a one-stop access to services. He also marked a longstanding effort to turn around the long-blighted city of Camden, which has seen a surge in public and private investment under Christie after decades of decline.

The address coincides with a drop in Christie’s approval rating in the state as he eyes higher office. Christie sought to cast his state’s economic progress in a positive light, pointing to a declining unemployment rate and balanced budget, even as its reality is far murkier. The governor avoided discussing efforts to confront fiscal turmoil in Atlantic City and avoided specifics on dealing with mounting pension costs that have caused repeated credit downgrades.

The presidential hopeful briefly alluded to the ongoing drama surrounding the politically-motivated closure of approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge by Christie aides in 2013. Christie has denied wrongdoing, but a federal probe into the incident continues. “In a year with plenty of politics from some overly partisan corners of this chamber, New Jersey has made progress,” Christie said.

Illustrating the out-of-state focus of the speech, Christie met off the record with national reporters before his address, leaving out members of his state press corps.

In a web video posted Tuesday to coincide with the address, the Democratic National Committee mocked Christie’s record and presidential ambitions.

TIME 2016 Election

Shots Fired: Scott Walker Bashes Chris Christie Over Football

Scott Walker
Jeffrey Phelps—AP Scott Walker Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker practices the presidential point on March 3, 2014 in Milwaukee.

People are still talking about the giddy embrace

The 2016 Republican presidential primary heated up a little more today as Scott Walker took a populist shot at Chris Christie over football.

Despite being governor of New Jersey, Christie is a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys and took some criticism for an enthusiastic bear hug of team owner Jerry Jones after the Cowboys’ playoff victory Sunday.

Walker didn’t criticize Christie’s choice of teams, per se, but he did take an indirect dig at the fact that he was in the owners’ box after flying to the game on a private jet paid for by the team owner:

As head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie campaigned in Wisconsin for Walker’s re-election in September, though now that both governors are gunning for the same outside-Washington slot in the 2016 primary, it looks like the gloves are going to come off.

TIME NFL

No Lawsuit Can Stop Chris Christie–Jerry Jones Bromance

In this midst of all this hugging and high-fiving, the NFL is suing Dallas' good luck charm. Is the Jones-Christie friendship appropriate?

What’s a little lawsuit between best buds?

There’s plenty to poke fun at while watching the bromance between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his good luck charm, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, play out on national television and all those subsequent Vines. The sweater. The unreciprocated hug. The fact that Christie, a lifelong Cowboys fan, runs a state stocked with fans of the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, who all hate America’s team.

But there’s something else that’s funny about the Jones-Christie pairing, something that most fans are probably missing. Jones, an NFL owner, is whooping it up with a man who the league is actually suing.

Well, maybe funny is the wrong word. “It’s definitely weird,” says Ryan Rodenberg, a sports law professor at Florida State University who has closely followed Christie’s attempts to legalize sports betting in New Jersey, despite the legal complaints of the NFL and other major sports leagues. In October, the NFL — along with the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, and the NCAA, sued Christie and two other New Jersey officials, arguing that the state’s plan to move forward with sports gambling violated a 1992 federal law that bans it in every state except for Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. A federal judge agreed, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals is now taking up the case.

Christie and betting proponents argue that sports books could increase revenues and create jobs, particularly in struggling Atlantic City. The league argued that legalized betting can cause “irreparable harm,” i.e. participants have more incentives to fix games, even though such opportunities have already long existed in the underground betting market. (NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already called for the legalization of sports betting, through a federal law change. He says he still opposes New Jersey’s attempt to circumvent the current statute).

Is all this palling around between Jones and Christie appropriate, given the legal fight? “Maybe it’s just the way business is done at that echelon, people don’t take things personally,” says Rodenberg. “It’s not something I can relate to.” A New Jersey taxpayer can look at it this way: my governor is high-fiving a major shareholder of an entity that’s trying to squash legislation that will benefit my state economically. The NFL can look at this way: one of our most high-profile owners is celebrating with a man who’s trying to bring us irreparable harm.

But Jones himself isn’t suing Christie. The NFL league office in New York, along with the other leagues, brought the suit forward: the NFL did not put the proposed litigation to an owner’s vote. (A Cowboys spokesman did not return a request for comment. A Christie spokesman declined to comment.) And even Raymond Lesniak, a Democratic state senator in New Jersey and self-described Christie critic, excuses the governor’s behavior, chalking it up to sports fandom. Lesniak, who’s been trying to get sports betting legislation passed for six years, is more bothered by Christie accepting a free ticket to Dallas from Jones after the Port Authority, which is controlled by Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and whose ethics have been questioned in Bridgegate — awarded a contract to operate the One World Trade Center observatory to a company partly owned by the Cowboys. He’s peeved that the NFL is fighting sports betting in New Jersey, even though it staged three games this season in London, where betting parlors dot the streets like Starbucks.

Lesniak, however, goes to New York Giants games and supports the team, even though he doesn’t support the league’s policies. So he won’t bash the governor for living a fan’s fantasy. “I’ll give him a pass,” Lesniak says. “And I don’t give him a pass often.”

Jones wants Christie in Green Bay on Sunday, for Dallas’ next playoff game: the Cowboys are 5-0 in games Christie has attended this season. “He’s part of our mojo,” Jones said. As of Tuesday evening, Christie still had not decided whether he’d make the trip. Safe bet: if Christie has any ambitions of taking Texas in 2016, he’ll be living it up in Lambeau.

MONEY Workplace

Why Smart People Send Stupid Emails That Can Ruin Their Careers

Producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal attend the Sony Pictures Classic 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards Party held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Neilson Barnard—Getty Images Producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal publicly apologized for racially insensitive emails.

High-profile email leaks show, once again, the danger of assuming that what you write is for the recipient's eyes only.

What were they thinking?

When Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin were exchanging their now infamous emails, leaked in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking scandal, they clearly weren’t worried about what would happen to their careers if anyone else read their notes.

You have to wonder why not: Companies routinely monitor worker communications. Email is regularly used as evidence in lawsuits and criminal investigations. Now hacking is another threat. Email isn’t private. Everyone knows that.

Pascal, who climbed the ranks at Sony Pictures Entertainment to become co-chairman, and Rudin, an Oscar-winning movie producer, are not stupid people. Yet they are just the latest example of high-profile executives who send email without a thought about what would happen if the outside world read them.

Remember David Petraeus, the four-star general and CIA director who resigned from his job after an FBI investigation inadvertently turned up emails that exposed an extramarital affair? Ironically, Petraeus didn’t even send the emails. He wrote them and saved them to his drafts folder. He and his girlfriend shared the password and simply logged in to read the drafts.

Then there’s New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who fired his chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly after it was revealed that she sent emails joking about traffic tie-ups caused by lane closings on the George Washington Bridge. The closures, an alleged retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie’s bid for governor, spawned a scandal that continues to affect Christie’s presidential prospects.

And most recently, a Harvard business school professor publicly apologized last week for an epic email rant that went viral, in which he threatened to sic the authorities on a local Chinese food restaurant that allegedly overcharged him $4 for a dinner delivery.

Even though senders should know better, “there’s an illusion of privacy, because the truth is, most of us haven’t been hacked or even know if higher-ups are reading our email,” says Dana Brownlee, president of Professionalism Matters. When it comes to successful people, she says, ego often trumps common sense. “Those with power often reach a point where they let their guard down because they feel somewhat invincible.”

It’s a trap that any of us can easily fall into, particularly in today’s time-crunched workplace, where it’s often easier to shoot off an email or text rather than pick up the phone—or, better still, walk down the hall—to discuss a sensitive issue. “We all have to be really careful about using email almost exclusively to communicate,” Brownlee says. “It’s dangerous.”

Brownlee suggests giving yourself this simple test: How comfortable would you be if your boss, a co-worker or the person you are writing about read it? Not sure? Don’t send it.

“Warning flags truly should go off in your head any time you prepare to hit send on anything you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the paper,” says Brownlee. “Save the jokes and snarky or personal stuff for one-on-one time. You’ll be glad you did.”

TIME 2016 Election

Here Are the 2016 Candidates Looking Very Presidential

Dress for the job you want

As potential 2016 candidates gear up for White House bids, it’s important for them to look the part. So here it is: a definitive gallery of presidential hopefuls looking their most presidential.

TIME 2016 Election

Here’s How Likely Presidential Candidates Badmouth the Job They Want

Gov. Chris Christie Marks Second Anniversary Of Hurricane Sandy
Kena Betancur—Getty Images New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks on Oct. 29, 2014 in Belmar, N.J.

It’s that time in the election cycle when presidential hopefuls get coy about making a decision.

But that means it’s getting harder for a likely candidate to pretend that they’re not interested in being the leader of the free world. One way to do that? By arguing that being president isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s how some potential 2016 candidates have been knocking the presidency.

Being President is Too Stressful

Ben Carson: “I’m not sure that anybody wants to put themselves in that kind of horrible and stressful situation, that has never been a goal of mine.” (POLITICO)

Hillary Clinton: “I’ve known a lot of presidents over the course of the last many decades … And it is such a hard job … It is such a challenging job … you can easily lose touch with what’s real, what’s authentic, who you were before you were sworn in to office.” (POLITICO)

My Family Won’t Like Living in the White House

Chris Christie: “Patrick goes to a great school that he really likes, and he kind of sat down and figured out that he’d be in the middle of high school if I ran for president and won. He said, ‘Well, I’d be able to keep going to my school, right?’ Like, well, no. I mean, we have to move…to the White House? In Washington. You’d pretty much have to come with us. And that pretty much put him off; he’s off the bandwagon now. [And] Sarah would be in the middle of college. Not so much in favor. You know, the whole idea of Secret Service agents living in your dorm?” (NJ.com)

Jeb Bush: “Can I do it where the sacrifice for my family is tolerable?… It’s a pretty ugly business right now. So I’m not saying, ‘Oh, woe is me.’ Don’t get me wrong. There’s a level under which I would never subjugate my family because that’s my organizing principle, that’s my life. I think people kind of appreciate that. So, I’m sorting that out.” (POLITICO)

Running for the White House Isn’t Fun

Paul Ryan: “I don’t feel the need to be out there, putting my toe in the water. I don’t see the point in it. It’s not fun, and I don’t think I need to.” (Washington Post)

It’ll Ruin My Looks

Scott Walker: “I say this only half-jokingly, that you have to be crazy to want to be president. Anyone who’s seen the pictures of this president or any of the former presidents can see the before and after, no matter how fit, no matter how young they are, they age pretty rapidly when you look at their hair and everything else involved with it.” (The Hill)

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