TIME 2016 Election

Rick Perry Addresses Republicans’ Legacy on Race

Former Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry addresses the National Press Club Luncheon July 2, 2015 in Washington.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Former Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry addresses the National Press Club Luncheon July 2, 2015 in Washington.

"For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found we didn’t need it to win"

The speech was billed an address on the economy. But by the time he finished, it was clear that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was here to talk about race.

About a lynching of a black man that took place 99 years ago in his home state of Texas. About his party writing off black voters because Republicans didn’t need them to win elections. About the GOP’s embrace of states’ rights over civil rights. In a sweeping, 30-minute speech to the National Press Club, the former Texas Governor offered a mea culpa for discrimination in America and pitched an aggressive reboot for Republicans’ relationship with black voters.

“We cannot dismiss the historical legacy of slavery, nor its role in causing the problem of black poverty,” Perry said during an appearance that at times was an indictment of how the nation treats minorities and a litany of promises to fix that. “And because slavery and segregation were sanctioned by government, there is a role for government policy in addressing their lasting effects.”

A charismatic speaker and shrewd politician, Perry needs such a dramatic move to convince voters that he is not the bumbling White House hopeful that he was in 2012. During that earlier bid, he stumbled during debates and delivered uneven performances with voters. Seeking redemption, Perry is trying again to win the nomination with a campaign that could force his party to confront sometimes-uncomfortable realities.

“There has been—and will continue to be—an important and legitimate role for the federal government in enforcing civil rights,” Perry said, adding he was among those who favored autonomy for states to address the issue. “For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found we didn’t need it to win. But when we gave up on trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all. It is time for us to once again reclaim our heritage as the only party in our country founded on the principle of freedom for African-Americans.”

Black voters backed President Obama’s re-election bid in 2012 to the tune of 93%. In 2008, Obama carried 95% of the black vote.

Perry’s gambit to win over African-American voters is not an original play. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican also seeking the GOP nomination, has made urban outreach a central part of his campaign. Paul often travels to historically black colleges and meets with black pastors on the road. Yet the Texas twang of Perry talking about the GOP and its legacy with African-Americans was at time discordant with his typical fixation on cutting taxes and regulations.

“Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern the African-American communities,” Perry said. “It is time for black families to hold them accountable for the results.”

Citing higher poverty rates, lower-performing schools and fewer opportunities, Perry said Obama’s tenure as the nation’s first black president made history but did little to improve life for African-Americans. “I’m proud to live in a country that has an African-American President. But President Obama cannot be proud of the fact that the prevalence of black poverty has actually increased under his leadership,” Perry said.

By contrast, Perry pointed to his 14 years as Texas’ governor when its economy boomed. African-American graduation rates climbed from 27th out of 50 states in 2002 up to first in the country when he left office earlier this year. From 2005 to 2007, more blacks moved to Texas than to any state other than Georgia. (Hurricane Katrina destroying next-door Louisiana in 2005 helped that.) Perry also closed three prisons and reformed sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders. “Each one of those new resident was welcomed to Texas, with open arms,” Perry said.

Asked after his speech about the debate underway in South Carolina about the Confederate flag, Perry said it was up to legislators in that state. Yet he also noted that, as Governor, he removed a plaque commemorating the Confederacy and moved it to a museum. Texas also stopped issuing Confederate license plates. “It makes sense to come up with ways to bring this country together,” Perry said.

Perry began his appearance by discussing the ugly lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas. Washington, who was black, pleaded guilty to raping and murdering his employer’s white daughter during trial and was convicted. The judge sentenced him to death—a sentence carried out in front of Waco City Hall, where he was tortured, mutilated and burned in front of a crowd of thousands.

Perry ended his speech with an acknowledgement: “America has never been perfect. No country composed of imperfect beings ever could be. 
But there is no country that has achieved more than the United States of America.”

TIME 2016 Election

Why 2016 Campaign Spending Is Heating Up Now

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announces his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential nomination during a rally a he Pontchartrain Center on June 24, 2015 in Kenner, Louisiana.
Sean Gardner—Getty Images Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announces his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential nomination during a rally a he Pontchartrain Center on June 24, 2015 in Kenner, Louisiana.

As candidates struggle to build national name recognition, their independent friends step in.

If you were running for president at this point in previous presidential races, your instinct was to stockpile cash. With many voters still tuned out, spending money trying to reach them this early in the cycle was wasteful, while building a large campaign war chest was a good way to scare the competition and signal to voters, the press and potential donors that you were a viable candidate. Then, when the race started in earnest in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, you’d burn through a lot of that money on TV ads, automated phone calls and mailers in an attempt to win the nomination quickly.

That’s all changed. With outside groups now able to raise and spend unlimited sums of money, crunch time is coming now, midway through the summer the year before the election. And with an ever-larger cast of characters running for the Republican nomination, candidates are having to work harder than ever to punch through the noise and make the cut for the all-important first debate.

Far from a sleepy time to build up a war chest, the coming month is do-or-die time, especially for candidates near the bottom of the crowded field of GOP hopefuls. That is why so many of the independent groups backing them are willing to spend heavily now, even if it depletes their cash on hand.

For instance, the super PAC supporting Bobby Jindal reported $461,000 going out the door on Tuesday alone to bolster his chances. The Louisiana Governor just last week joined the crowded field and has little name recognition outside of his home state. If he doesn’t improve soon, he could be shut out of the first debate, which is limited to the top 10 contenders based on an average of recent polls.

A TIME review of documents filed between June 1 and midday June 30 shows candidate-specific super PACs shelled out $1.3 million on digital ads, automated phone calls, mail pieces and telephone lines. Spending against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton from just four outside groups totaled almost three-quarters of $1 million in June alone—a potential sign how much tea party-style Republicans despise her and establishment-minded ones fear her.

While June’s tally pales in comparison to the billions the 2016 White House race will eventually cost, it is unusual to see the outside groups spending so heavily, so soon. After all, the first chance to officially weigh-in on the GOP nominee is the Iowa caucuses scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016.

Yet these super PACs aren’t necessarily targeting the conservative activists in Iowa or New Hampshire. While a good chunk of the change spent in the last month has been there, just as much is going to boost the candidates’ profiles nationally. The super PACs give anyone with a patron with deep pockets a shot, yielding a larger field than during the pre-super PAC era. And that means the television networks hosting the coming debates needed to cull the list of participants.

Enter the super PACs, trying to remedy a problem of their own creation. Their goal is to raise familiarity with each’s preferred contender enough so that he or she qualifies for the first debate. Under the current rules, only the top 10 contenders in national polls—in a crowded field now numbering 14 and expected to climb—will make the stage on Aug. 6 in Cleveland.

It’s why boosters for Jindal, who entered the race last week, are sending cash to his main advertising firms. At the same time, supporters of Rick Perry told the FEC they accounted for $578,000 in June spending; they are trying to make sure the former Texas Governor qualifies for the debates during his second White House bid. Boosters for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas spent $13,126 during the last four weeks, too.

For others, it’s about maintaining a lead. Allies of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky reported spending $240,000 last month on 40 staffers in Iowa, $17,500 for voter contact information and phone calls, and another $3,000 on fliers to leave at potential supporters front doors.

And these totals only account for spending by super PACs, the independent groups that can raise and spend unlimited sums of cash as long as they don’t coordinate strategy with the official campaigns. A network of nonprofit, politically-minded groups are also engaged at this point. For instance, a nonprofit backing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is running more than $1 million in ads promoting his opposition to the Obama Administration’s emerging deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Because the Conservative Solutions Project doesn’t specifically advocate for Rubio’s election, that group does not face an FEC reporting requirement.

While the race is most dynamic among the Republicans, Democrats are spending cash, too. A group backing former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley reported spending almost $56,000 on Internet ads criticizing a rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and promoting his own record.

Yet the biggest target of all the outside groups is, not surprisingly, Clinton. The former Secretary of State faced roughly $753,000 in spending against her from just four outside groups. The Tea Party Majority Fund reported $400,000 in automated phone calls from Hawaii to Maine to criticize her. The Stop Hillary PAC spent $145,000 to find potential supporters and to send them mail and online ads. The Freedom Defense Fund spent more than $130,000 in June on a national direct-mail campaign. And the Republican National Committee reported $78,000 in spending on an advertising campaign in voters’ mailboxes, as well as on Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter.

In all, June was at least a $3 million investment for the outside groups. And that number does not account for a single dime that the candidates—the folks whose names are actually on the ballot—spent.

TIME Supreme Court

Here’s How Republican Presidential Candidates Reacted to the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision

People cheer in front of the US Supreme Court after after ruliing was announced on the Affordable Care Act. June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—2015 Getty Images People cheer in front of the US Supreme Court after after ruliing was announced on the Affordable Care Act. June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Republican candidates for 2016 say the fight over Obamacare is far from over

The decision upholding subsidies in the Affordable Care Act went from the Supreme Court straight to the 2016 presidential election.

Almost immediately after the nation’s highest court handed down a 6-3 decision upholding a key part of Obamacare, the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination weighed in, arguing that the fight isn’t over.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush issued a statement of disappointment and said as president he would “make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.”

“Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting now from Washington, DC.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio vowed to continue fighting to repeal the law in order to replace it with a “consumer-centered plan.”

In a statement, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race soon, called on Republicans in Congress to “redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.”

From the beginning, it was clear that ObamaCare would fail the American people and this has proven to be true across the country and in Wisconsin.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted that the court ruling hadn’t changed his stance on the law.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham argued that the ruling was even more of a reason to elect a president opposed to the law.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry tweeted that “Americans deserve better” and included a link to a lengthy statement.

Perry’s statement reads, in part:

The Obama Administration has ignored the text of the Affordable Care Act time and again, and today’s ruling allows them to continue to disregard the letter of the law.

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee issued a scathing critique of the decision, calling it an “out-of-control act of judicial tyranny.”

 

TIME 2016 Election

What 2016 Republicans Would Do Next on Obamacare

For Republican presidential candidates, a possible Supreme Court decision overturning some Obamacare subsidies is a tricky subject.

No one in the GOP field wants to be seen as supportive of the Affordable Care Act, which was viewed unfavorably by 69 percent of Republicans in a June poll. But if the court rules against the Obama Administration, subsidies that make insurance affordable for 6.4 million Americans would be in jeopardy.

Four candidates are governors of states that would be directly affected by a court ruling because they do not have their own insurance marketplace: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Another four are sitting U.S. senators who could be forced to vote on any legislative fixes: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. (Of those, only Paul’s state would not be directly affected, as Kentucky runs its own marketplace, called Kynect.)

The candidates who are not in office currently—former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and businessman Donald Trump—have more flexibility to respond.

Here’s what the candidates have said should happen if the court strikes down subsidies in 34 states that don’t run their own marketplaces, in order of how major their plan would be:

Mike Huckabee: Wait and see

He has not yet taken a position.

Rick Santorum: Wait and see

He has not yet taken a position.

John Kasich: Ohio should fix it

“I’ve got good people working on this. We’ve chatted about this,” he told NewsMax. “If the court makes a decision that these exchanges get shut down, then we’re gonna have to figure something out in Ohio.”

Scott Walker: Congress should fix it

“This is a problem created by this president and the previous Congress,” he told Bloomberg News. “It’s something that requires a solution at the federal level. States didn’t create this problem, the federal government did. And they should fix it.”

Chris Christie: Congress should fix it

“If Congress messed up the statute, the Congress and the President created the statute; they should fix it,” he said during a trip to New Hampshire. “If they’re saying it’s not what they intended, then go back and fix it.”

Carly Fiorina: Congress should fix it

“I know that we certainly cannot leave people hanging and I have confidence that they are working on a plan in Congress now,” she told reporters. “I’m not sure if it is the plan that I would put forward, but I’m confident that they’re working on a plan.”

Marco Rubio: Pass a short-term fix, then replace the law

“Credible conservative plans have already emerged from Senator Ben Sasse, Congressman Paul Ryan and others,” he wrote on Fox News. “The goal is to provide an off-ramp for our people to escape this law without losing their insurance.”

Lindsey Graham: Pass a short-term fix, then replace the law

“I don’t think we should terminate (the subsidies) until we have a plan,” he told Politico.

Rick Perry: Pass a short-term fix, then replace the law

“You don’t turn around a huge ship just overnight. It takes a transition period,” he told RealClearPolitics. “I think most Americans, whether they’re strict conservatives economically, would find that to be out of the realm of appropriate.”

Ted Cruz: Let states opt out of Obamacare

“In a perfect world, we would take that opportunity to repeal Obamacare. At a minimum, we should allow states to opt out,” he told Politico. He later said he would push for a six-month transition to a full-blown repeal.

Rand Paul: Pass a conservative replacement now

“I would like to legalize inexpensive insurance policies, give more choice, let people choose their doctor, expand health savings accounts, help people save for their insurance,” he told Politico.

Jeb Bush: Pass a conservative replacement now

“Give broad discretion to states to create exchanges that would look more like a Republican vision of how you expand access to health care insurance,” he told the Des Moines Register. “The president’s likely to veto that. You don’t know until you get it there, though.”

Bobby Jindal: Do nothing

“Congress might be tempted to pass language extending the subsidies to the federally-run exchange, allowing Obamacare to comply with the court ruling,” he wrote in National Review. “That’s a ‘solution’ in search of a problem.”

TIME 2016 Election

This Agency May Have Already Been Killed by the 2016 Campaign

Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States holds up a copy of the bank's Default Rate Report as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee June 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong—Getty Images Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States holds up a copy of the bank's Default Rate Report as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee June 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The fight over an obscure federal agency has become a flashpoint for the 2016 GOP field

The chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank has spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill lately fighting to save his embattled institution. The bank, whose charter lapses June 30, has been the target of a coordinated campaign orchestrated by conservatives who call it a form of crony capitalism. Which means chairman Fred Hochberg has been shuttling between meetings with influential lawmakers, pleading with top House Republicans like Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling to keep the credit export agency alive.

“I’m still confident that we are going to get reauthorized,” Hochberg told reporters Friday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. But he acknowledged the possibility that it wouldn’t happen before the deadline, which would force supporters to find a way to revive the multi-billion dollar institution later on. “We’ve got some headwinds,” Hochberg conceded. “There is no plan B.”

The headwinds buffeting the obscure federal agency are a reflection of the forces reshaping Republican politics. In 2012, the bank was backed by big bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate. And if the crusade to shutter it succeeds, it won’t be because lawmakers suddenly realized a bank that chiefly benefits big corporations like Boeing and General Electric didn’t mesh with the tenets of free-market economics.

Instead, it will be because the Ex-Im bank—which in 2014 provided about $20 billion in federal loan guarantees to support U.S. exports—has been denounced as corporate welfare by the deep-pocketed Koch political network, influential free-market think tanks and conservative interest groups. Organizations like Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth have launched direct-mail campaigns and TV ads to ramp up pressure on wavering lawmakers.

The same pressures loom large in the presidential race. In the early stages of the 2016 campaign, the expiration of the Ex-Im Bank has become a crucial litmus test for Republicans—and it’s no coincidence that nearly the entire field has wound up on the same side.

Scott Walker wants to see the bank’s charter lapse. So does Marco Rubio. Same goes for Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Bobby Jindal? Ditto. Jeb Bush—who was once employed by a manufacturer that received $74 million in Ex-Im financing to sell water pumps to Nigeria—came out against the bank this winter. Rick Perry, who last year wrote a letter to Congress urging the bank’s reauthorization, was the latest to change his mind, publishing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that argued “the best way to mend Ex-Im is to end it.”

The rare defender of Ex-Im in the 2016 field is Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose home state of South Carolina is the site of a major Boeing plant that employs more than 7,500 people, according to company records.

Why has the bank has become unpopular among 2016 GOP contenders? In most cases, its foes can do more for presidential candidates than its friends. Ex-Im has powerful allies, from the major corporations who are beneficiaries to influential business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and well-funded trade associations. But the conservative ideologues pushing to kill the bank hold greater sway with the energized activists who can lift or sink a presidential prospect’s primary chances.

The Koch network alone plans to fork over nearly $900 million in the run-up to the 2016 election. It’s one reason why candidates seeking to win their favor have taken up against the bank. “The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market,” Rubio said on a recent call organized by the Koch-based Americans for Prosperity.

Hochberg dodged a question about how the opposition of the 2016 field has affected the debate. “A small minority are opposed to us,” he said. But they are a powerful cadre of people, which is why the bank’s charter looks increasingly likely to lapse for the first time in 80 years.

TIME 2016 Election

GOP Candidates Go Whole Hog in Iowa

Freshman Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) arrives at Big Barn Harley-Davidson for the start of her Roast and Ride event on June 6, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Freshman Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) arrives at Big Barn Harley-Davidson for the start of her Roast and Ride event on June 6, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thousands of Iowa activists heard from presidential candidates who donned leather jackets and helmets for a 39-mile processional to Boone for the inaugural Roast and Ride—a fresh addition to Iowa’s crowded political calendar organized by Sen. Joni Ernst

The motorcycles rumbled down the road, their roar stretching over fields of ankle-high corn. The mile-long procession wound its way along county roads, up and down the rolling hills of central Iowa, ending an hour-long pilgrimage to Boone in a gravel lot at the base of grain silos.

Across the small parking lot, thousands of Iowa activists waited to hear from a few who donned leather jackets and helmets for the 39-mile processional to Boone for the inaugural Roast and Ride—a fresh addition to Iowa’s crowded political calendar organized by Sen. Joni Ernst.

At the edges, candidates roamed from one media interview to another, trailed by a phalanx of reporters looking to make sense of the circus-like atmosphere that sprouted up from the grassy field. Makeshift television studios were built and trucks fitted with satellite dishes on their roofs broadcast the event live. White plastic fencing kept enthusiasts from wandering too far from the main stage and extension cords powered movie-caliber lighting.

The event at times was a pastiche of Iowa and its traditions. Pork and beans served from tin bins onto Styrofoam lunch plates, bales of hay stacked as a backdrop on a Potemkin farm used to demonstrate equipment at the annual Farm Progress Show. Hundreds of participants arrived en masse; Ernst led a pack of 300 bikes to the farm grounds, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker right behind her.

“I love a Senator who knows how to castrate a pig, ride a hog and cut the pork from Washington, D.C.,” said Walker, bedecked in a black Harley-Davidson T-shirt and ball cap.

It was Ernst’s political carnival and the White House hopefuls were her performers. One by one, they took their turn on stage, standing in front of a metal barn festooned with a sign proclaiming Iowa is the “Fields of Opportunities.” Shame was verboten and pandering was rewarded.

“We’re blessed as a party to have so many candidates. The Democrats couldn’t even come up with one,” joked Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He bypassed the motorcycle arrival and instead met with activists in nearby Ames. But when it was his turn in Boone, he was ready to lavish praise on the Hawkeye state and its traditions.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina didn’t grab a motorcycle. She spent the morning walking in the Scandinavian Days parade in nearby Story City. She hitched a ride on a John Deere tractor to catch up to her 4×4, from which volunteers were throwing candy, when talking to voters led her to fall behind the procession.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry organized his own motorcycle event to help wounded military members buy service dogs. But he made his way to Boone, wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and doing his best to look like he spends every weekend zooming across sun-baked Texas.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson declined to go full-tilt Iowa biker and stuck with blazers. Both continued to enjoy broad support.

The Boone Fire Department supplied a ladder truck to hoist a massive American flag. Corn hole and a bouncy-castle provided relief for the smattering of families. A sea of seniors sat in folding lawn chairs before the podium, which went unused by candidates who prefered the more casual hand-held microphone as they paced the stage flanked by an antique tractor.

But for all the love the candidates offered this state, there were clear signs that its preeminence was at risk. So far, no candidate has committed to participating in a lead-off straw poll, scheduled for Aug. 8 at the same location as Ernst’s confab. Its stand-out star from 2008, Huckabee, said he will skip the event. Others, too, were criticizing the daylong political rally that is on its last legs.

“It’s not a good return on investment for me. I’ll think I’m going to spend my money elsewhere,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “I’m going to show up, go to birthday parties, go to weddings, bar mitzvahs—wherever they will have me.”

Asked about the fate of the straw poll with so many candidates bailing, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told reporters Friday, “We’re going to focus on the caucuses.”

Walker, who is atop the heap in Iowa polling, hedged when asked if he would be the first to sign up for the straw poll. “Should we be a candidate, we will be in Iowa quite a bit. Whether or not the straw poll is part of that obviously remains to be seen,” said Walker, who rented a Harley-Davidson for the occasion and went full-hog on the kitsch.

Walker donned a pair of latex gloves as he sliced a rack of baby back ribs for journalists, regaling them with tales of his love of pork—including how he proposed to his wife at a Wisconsin smokehouse. “I love ribs and I love barbecue,” he said between bites, as the horde of photographers snapped away, documenting his adoration of pork.

TIME rick perry

Transcript: Read Full Text of Rick Perry’s Campaign Launch

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Dallas Thursday.

Here is a transcript of the full remarks, as prepared for delivery.

Thank you. I was born five years after the end of a global war that killed more than 60 million people.

I am the son of a veteran of that war, who flew 35 missions over war-torn Europe as a tail gunner on a B-17.

When dad returned home, he married mom, and they started a life together.

They were tenant farmers.

They were raised during a time of great hardship, and had little expectation beyond living in peace, putting a roof over our heads and putting food on our table.

Home was a place called Paint Creek. Too small to be called a town, but it was the center of my universe.

For years we had an outhouse, and mom bathed us in a number two washtub on the back porch. She also hand-sewed my clothes until I went off to college.

I attended Paint Creek Rural School, grades one through 12. I played 6-man football. I was a member of Boy Scout Troop 48, became an Eagle Scout, and went off to Texas A&M where I was a member of the Corps of Cadets and an animal science major.

I was proud to wear the uniform of our country as an Air Force officer and aircraft commander.

After serving, I returned home to the rolling plains and big skies of West Texas, and I returned to farming.

There is no person on earth more optimistic than a dryland cotton farmer. We always know a good rain is just around the corner, no matter how long we’d been waiting.

The values learned on my family’s cotton farm are timeless: the dignity of work, the integrity of your word, responsibility to community, the unbreakable bonds of family, and duty to country.

These are enduring values. Not the product of some idyllic past, but a touchstone of American life in our small towns, our largest cities, our booming suburbs.

I have seen American life from the red dirt of a West Texas cotton field, from a campus in College Station, from the elevated view of a C-130 cockpit, and from the Governor’s office of the Texas Capitol.

I served a small rural community in the Texas Legislature, and I led the world’s 12th largest economy.

I know that America has experienced great change, but what it means to be an American has never changed: we are the only nation in the world founded on the power of an idea that all “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Our rights come from God, not from government, and our people are not the subjects of government, but instead government is subject to the people.

It has always been the case that there has been a social compact between one generation of Americans and the next: to pass along an inheritance of a stronger country full of greater promise and possibility.

And that social compact has been protected at great sacrifice. This was never more clear to me than when I took my father to the American cemetery that overlooks the bluffs at Omaha beach.

On that peaceful, wind-swept setting, there lie 9,000 graves, including 45 pairs of brothers, 33 of whom are buried side by side, a father and a son, two sons of a president. They all traded their future for ours in a final act of loving sacrifice.

In that American Cemetery, it is no accident each headstone faces west: west over the Atlantic, towards the nation they defended, the nation they loved, the nation they would never come home to.

It struck me as I stood in the midst of those heroes that they look upon us in silent judgment. And that we must ask ourselves: are we worthy of their sacrifice?

The truth is we are at the end of an era of failed leadership.

We have been led by a divider who has sliced and diced the electorate, pitting American against American for political purposes.

Six years into the so-called recovery, and our economy is barely growing. This winter, it actually got smaller.

Our economic slowdown is not inevitable, it is the direct result of bad economic policy.

The president’s tax and regulatory policies have slammed shut the door of opportunity for the average American trying to climb the economic ladder, resigning the middle class to stagnant wages, personal debt, and deferred dreams.

Weakness at home has led to weakness abroad.

The world has descended into a chaos of this president’s own making, while his White House loyalists construct an alternative universe where ISIS is contained and Ramadi is merely a “setback” – where the nature of the enemy can’t be acknowledged for fear of causing offense, where the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, can be trusted to live up to a nuclear agreement.

No decision has done more harm than the president’s withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Let no one be mistaken, leaders of both parties have made grave mistakes in Iraq. But in January, 2009 – when Barack Obama became Commander-in-Chief – Iraq had been largely pacified.

America had won the war. But our president failed to secure the peace.

How callous it seems now as cities once secured with American blood are now being taken by America’s enemies, all because of a campaign slogan.

I saw during Vietnam a war where politicians didn’t keep faith with the sacrifices and courage of America’s fighting men and women, where men were ordered into combat without the full support of their civilian commanders.

To see it happen again, 40 years later, because of political gamesmanship and dishonesty, is a national disgrace.

But my friends, we are a resilient country. We have been through a Civil War, we’ve been through two world wars, we’ve made it through a Great Depression – we even made it through Jimmy Carter. We will make it through the Obama years.

The fundamental nature of this country is our people never stay knocked down. We get back up, we dust ourselves off, and we move forward. And we will again.

I want to share some important truths with my fellow Americans, starting with this truth: we don’t have to settle for a world in chaos or an America that shrinks from its responsibilities.

We don’t have to apologize for American exceptionalism, or western values.

We don’t have to accept slow growth that leaves behind the middle class, and leaves millions of Americans out of work.

We don’t have to settle for crumbling bureaucracies that target taxpayers and harm our veterans.

And we don’t have to resign ourselves to debt, decay and slow growth.

We have the power to make things new again. To project American strength again, to get our economy going again.

And that is why today I am running for the presidency of the United States of America.

It is time to create real jobs, to raise wages, to create opportunity for all. To give every citizen a stake in this country. To restore hope, real hope to forgotten Americans, millions of middle class families who have given up hope of getting ahead, millions of workers who have given up hope of finding a job.

Yes, it’s time for a reset, time to reset the relationship between government and citizen.

Think of the arrogance of Washington, DC, representing itself as some beacon of wisdom, with policies smothering this vast land with no regard for what makes each state and community unique. That’s just wrong.

We need to return power to the states, and freedom to the individual.

Today our citizens and entrepreneurs are burdened by over-regulation and unspeakable debt.

Debt is not just a fiscal nightmare, it is a moral failure. Let me speak to the millennial generation: massive debt, passed on from our generation to yours, is a breaking of the social compact.

You deserve better. I am going to offer a responsible plan to fix the entitlement system, and to stop this theft from your generation.

To those forgotten Americans drowning in personal debt, working harder for wages that don’t keep up with the rising cost of living, I come here today to say your voice is heard.

I know you face rising health care costs, rising child care costs, skyrocketing tuition costs, and mounting student loan debt. I hear you, and I am going to do something about it.

To the one in five children in families on food stamps, to the one in seven Americans living in poverty, to the one in ten workers who are unemployed, under-employed or given up hope of finding a job: I hear you, you are not forgotten.

I am running to be your president.

For small businesses on Main Street struggling to just get by, smothered by regulations, targeted by Dodd-Frank: I hear you, you’re not forgotten. Your time is coming.

The American People see a rigged game, where insiders get rich, and the middle class pays the tab.

There is something wrong when the Dow is near record highs, and businesses on Main Street can’t even get a loan.

Since when did capitalism involve the elimination of risk for the biggest banks while regulations strangle our community banks?

Capitalism is not corporatism. It is not a guarantee of reward without risk. It is not about Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

The reason I am running for president is I know for certain our country’s best days lie ahead. There is nothing wrong in America today that cannot be fixed with new leadership.

We are just a few good decisions away from unleashing economic growth, and reviving the American Dream.

We need to fix a tax code riddled with loopholes that sends jobs overseas and punishes success.

We have the highest corporate tax rate in the western world. It is time to reduce the rate, bring jobs home and lift wages for working families.

By the time this Administration has finished with its experiment in big government, they will have added more than 600,000 pages of new regulations to the Federal Register.

On my first day in office, I will issue an immediate freeze on all pending regulations from the Obama administration. That same day, I will send to Congress a comprehensive reform and rollback of job-killing mandates created by Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and other Obama-era policies.

Agencies will have to live under strict regulatory budgets. And health insurers will have to earn the right to your money, instead of lobbying Washington to force you to hand it over.

On day one, I will also sign an executive order approving the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

Energy is vital to our economy, and to our national security. On day one, I will sign an executive order authorizing the export of American natural gas and oil, freeing our European allies from dependence on Russia’s energy supplies.

Vladimir Putin uses energy to hold our allies hostage. If energy is going to be used as a weapon, I say America must have the largest arsenal.

We will unleash an era of economic growth, and limitless opportunity. We will rebuild American industry. And we will lift wages for American workers.

It can be done because it has been done in Texas.

During my 14 years as governor, Texas companies created almost one-third of all new American jobs.

In the last seven years of my tenure, Texas created 1.5 million new jobs. Without Texas, America would have lost 400,000 jobs.

We were the engine of growth because we had a simple formula: control taxes and spending, implement smart regulations, invest in an educated workforce, and stop frivolous lawsuits.

Texas now has the second highest high school graduation rate in the country and the highest graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic students.

We led the nation in exports, including high-tech exports. We passed historic tax relief, and I was proud to sign balanced budgets for 14 years.

We not only created opportunity, we stood for law and order.

When there was a crisis at our border last year and the president refused my invitation to see the challenge that we faced, I told him, “Mr. President, if you won’t secure the border, Texas will.”

Because of the threat posed by drug cartels and trans-national gangs, I deployed the Texas National Guard.

The policy worked. Apprehensions declined by 74 percent. If you elect me your president,
I will secure this border.

Homeland security begins with border security. The most basic compact between a president and the people is to keep the country safe.

The great lesson of history is strength and resolve bring peace and order, and weakness and vacillation invite chaos and conflict.

My very first act as president will be to rescind any agreement with Iran that legitimizes their quest to get a nuclear weapon.

Now is the time for clear-sighted, proven leadership. We have seen what happens when we elect a president based on media acclaim rather than a record of accomplishment.

This will be a “show-me, don’t tell me” election, where voters look past the rhetoric to the real record.

The question of every candidate will be this one: when have you led? Leadership is not a speech on the senate floor, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

And we will not find the kind of leadership needed to revitalize the country by looking to the political class in Washington.

I have been tested. I have led the most successful state in America. I have dealt with crisis after crisis – from the disintegration of a space shuttle, to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, to the crisis at the border, and the first diagnosis of Ebola in America.

I have brought together first responders, charities and people of faith to house and heal vulnerable citizens dealing with tragedy.

The spirit of compassion demonstrated by Texans is alive all across America today. While we have experienced a deficit in leadership, among the American People there is a surplus of spirit.

And among our great people, there is a spirit of selflessness – that we live to make the world better for our children, and not just ourselves.

It was said that when King George the Third asked what General Washington would do upon winning the war, he was told he would return to his farm and relinquish power. To that, the monarch replied, if he did that, he would be the greatest man of his age.

George Washington lived in the service of a cause greater than self.

If anyone is wondering if America still possesses the character of selfless heroes, I am here to say, “Yes, I am surrounded by such heroes.”

They are of different generations, but they are woven together by the same thread of selfless sacrifice.

They are heroes like Medal of Honor Recipient Mike Thornton, who survived an ambush by enemy forces in Vietnam, and made it back to the safety of a water rescue, only to find out a fellow team member had been left behind, presumed dead.

He didn’t leave though, he returned through enemy fire and retrieved Lieutenant Norris who was still alive – and then swam for two hours keeping his wounded teammate afloat until they were rescued.

Heroes like Marcus Luttrell, who survived a savage attack on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan, losing his three teammates and 16 fellow warriors shot down trying to rescue him.

He is not just the lone survivor, to Anita and me he is a second son.

And Taya Kyle, who suffered the deep loss of her husband Chris, an American hero. When I think of Taya Kyle, I think of a brave woman who carries not just the lofty burden of Chris’ legacy, but the grief of every family who has lost a loved one to the great tragedy of war, or its difficult aftermath. Anita and I want to thank her for her tremendous courage.

America is an extraordinary country. Our greatness lies not in our government, but in our people.

Each day Americans demonstrate tremendous courage. But many of those Americans have been knocked down and are looking for a second chance.

Let’s give them that chance. Let’s give them real leadership. Let’s give them a future greater than the greatest days of our past.

Let’s give them a president who leads us in the direction of our highest hopes, our best dreams and our greatest promise.

Thank you, and God bless you.

TIME rick perry

Rick Perry Announces Presidential Bid

Hopes for better fate than in doomed 2012 campaign

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry became the 10th Republican to officially run for president on Thursday.

In a speech in a Dallas suburb, the long-serving Texas governor attempted to turn back the clock on his failed 2012 attempt, which foundered when he fell short against other Republicans in debates, famously forgetting one of his own campaign platforms mid-answer—his “oops” moment.

On Thursday, Perry said, “It’s time for a reset.”

“We have the power to make things new again,”he said, “to project America’s strength again and to get our economy going again. And that is exactly why I am running for President of the United States of America.”

Read More: Read Full Text of Rick Perry’s Campaign Launch

Perry has sought a low-key rehabilitation, seeking to rebuild his reputation with interviews meant to show his command of the issues. As a former governor, he also hopes to differentiate himself from a field thick with Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

During his speech Thursday, Perry called Texas the “engine of growth” under his leadership and noted his record as governor, highlighting his handling of last summer’s crisis involving unaccompanied minors crossing the Southwestern border.

“If you elect me your president, I will secure that border,” he said.

Still, he faces some trouble back home, as a Texas grand jury indicted him last year on two abuse-of-power charges which claim he broke the law when he threatened and vetoed funding for a district attorney who was arrested for drunk-driving. Perry has denied wrongdoing and called the indictments politically motivated.

In a brief one-minute video posted ahead of the speech, Perry said the United States was showing “weakness abroad” and a “slow recovery economically” and said he would “bridge the partisan divide.”

Perry currently polls at the bottom of the Republican pack, picking up an average of 2.7% support in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. That puts him right at the cusp of being invited on stage at the official GOP debates, which are being limited due to the unusually large field.

Read More: Rick Perry’s Lone Star Do-Over

TIME 2016 Election

Why Josh Duggar’s Past Will Hurt Social Conservatives

Many movement leaders have been close to the reality star now accused of child molestation

As a reality-TV star famous for being part of a large conservative family, Josh Duggar had a public visibility that made him attractive to advocacy groups hoping he could spotlight their shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Now, as he responds to accusations of child molestation as a teenager, that same visibility could hurt the cause.

A police report detailed grim accusations against Duggar, one of the stars of TLC’s series 19 Kids and Counting. According to the newly released report, Duggar, the oldest child, allegedly sexually molested five minors, when he was 15. Jim Bob Duggar, his father, did not report the incidents to police for more than a year.

The political reaction was swift. Duggar, now 27, resigned from his role at the Family Research Council on Thursday, the same day the report was released owing to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, hired Duggar to lead Family Research Council Action, the group’s lobbying arm, in 2013. Duggar was 25, a young, popular TV star who poised to help advance the conservative evangelical political platform. “Josh and his wife Anna have been an inspiration to millions of Americans who regularly tune in to see the Duggar family’s show, and all of us at Family Research Council and FRC Action have long appreciated their commitment to the profamily movement,” Perkins said at the time.

But Duggar worked to be more than a pop-culture icon, he was a favored son in social-conservative politics. He served on two presidential campaigns, Mike Huckabee’s in 2008 and Rick Santorum’s in 2012, and during the recent midterms he campaigned for Senate candidates in Kansas, Mississippi and Virginia. Politics were also part of his upbringing. His father Jim Bob served two terms in the Arkansas house of representatives (1998–2002) and ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2002, around the time of the allegations against his son.

Josh Duggar focused his work at FRC Action on grassroots outreach, frequently fighting to keep the definition of marriage between a man and a woman. He was at the Supreme Court for arguments on same-sex marriage in April and helped to lead the March for Marriage rally in Washington that week. In December he campaigned, successfully, against an LGBT nondiscrimination measure in Arkansas that he said put children at risk. He tweeted that Islam attacked women. He said his family was the “epitome of conservative values.”

Conservative GOP candidates valued Duggar as a way to advance their agenda and leverage his constituents. He has tweeted photos of him with nearly all the 2016 GOP White House hopefuls — Huckabee, Santorum, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, to name just some in his timeline — and countless representatives, Senators, governors and operatives, from Senator James Lankford to Sarah Palin to GOP head Reince Priebus. He retweeted politicians who promoted FRC Action’s agenda, and challenged others who stood against it. Just last week he pushed hard on social media to promote the U.S. House’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and tweeted at Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, “Sorry, but you’re the one lacking compassion.”

But what was Duggar’s political value for Family Research Council, his moral example, has now become a cost. The group has looked to the 2016 elections as an opportunity to advance their cause, especially since there are so many candidates with similar values on family and marriage. Perkins also currently leads the Council for National Policy, a group that quietly seeks to vet candidates. Plus, everyone is bracing for the Supreme Court to decide a landmark gay-marriage case in late June, and the Family Research Council has been at the forefront of working to stop the spread of gay marriage.

That entire agenda is now compromised, and the Family Research Council has to pick up the pieces. Perkins issued a statement Thursday night, saying that the group was previously unaware of Duggar’s past, and that Duggar himself made the decision to resign because he realized “that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work.” In the statement, Perkins agreed: “We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time.”

The Family Research Council will have to find a new executive director for its lobbying arm, and attempt to recover the ground lost from this setback. FRC Action has also removed Duggar’s information from its website. (His bio on FRC Action’s website stated: “Drawing from his unique experiences in family, entertainment, politics and business, Josh seeks to use his God-given platform to encourage others to be engaged in the political process.”)

Reactions from the conservative side still remain to be seen. Huckabee became one of the first politicians to back Duggar on Friday morning. “Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are, as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable,’” he wrote on Facebook. “He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

Read next:

TLC Should Cancel 19 Kids and Counting

Here’s What Happened to Other TV Shows Embroiled in Controversy Like 19 Kids and Counting

TIME rick perry

Rick Perry Cites His Eagle Scout Rank on Campaign Trail

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a meet and greet event at Pizza Ranch in Sioux Center, Iowa
Nati Harnik—AP Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a meet and greet event at Pizza Ranch in Sioux Center, Iowa, on May 18, 2015.

Rick Perry has been studying oratory with a former Shakespeare actor, and it showed on Monday, when the former Texas governor paced around a small gathering in a two-stoplight-town farming village in Iowa.

Perry stretched his hands apart like a huge balloon when he talked about Texas’ job growth. He dramatically swung two fingers in a general southerly direction when he recalled his tough border policies in 2014. But it was the subtler speaker’s trick that may have won Perry’s listeners over: know your audience.

“When I look at a resume and I see ‘Eagle Scout,’ I can take that out and put it in a special pile,” Perry told a crowd with plenty of Boy Scouts of America members and U.S. military veterans.

“I may be applying for a job in the future,” Perry continued, “so I want them to know I was an Eagle Scout.”

The former 14-year Texas governor and Eagle Scout has been on a multi-day tour of Iowa, speaking at town hall meetings and restaurants across the state, revving up for what is likely to be the launch of his candidacy on June 4 in Texas.

With the Republican field getting crowded, likely candidates are looking for ways to set them apart as they roam the early primary states. In his pitch Monday in Holstein, northwestern Iowa, Perry spent a full 10 minutes—one-third of his prepared remarks—talking about his military experience and the leadership skills he learned in the Boy Scouts.

For Scouts, it’s a familiar sales pitch. The typical script for an Eagle Scout court of honor includes a shout-out to the presidents (John Kennedy, Gerald Ford) and members of Congress who earned Scouting’s highest rank. (And lawmakers love to return the favor.)

Still, in such a crowded Republican field, Perry faces competition even on this front from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who prominently notes that he reached Eagle in the third sentence of his official bio and once responded to a question about sending troops into combat by citing his time in the Scouts. Even former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who attended the kickoff for a Scouting alternative that refuses to admit gay and transgendered boys, had a Scout troop hoist the flag at his campaign launch.

Perry, who is 65, spoke of Scouting in more personal terms, arguing that the trail to Eagle was not unlike the campaign trail.

“Because I know something about that young person right off the bat: that at a young age, they started a major project, that had a long process to come to its fruition,” he said. “I know they started a major project and they followed a guide book to its conclusion. And with that discipline, that focus as a 12- to 17-year-old, they most likely have those same characteristics as a 25 or 35 or 45-year-old—or 65-year old individual.”

As for his service in the Air Force as a pilot: “I don’t think there’s a greater way to serve your country than to wear the uniform of your country,” he said to enthusiastic applause.

The Republican presidential contest is turning into a chaotic contest that is increasingly being defined by candidates’ foreign policy credentials. Former Gov. Jeb Bush stumbled last week when he was unable to clarify whether he would have chosen to invade Iraq. Scott Walker in poor taste compared defeating 100,000 union protesters in his own state to fighting the Islamic State. Sen. Rand Paul has recast himself as less of a foreign policy dove over the past year, but many conservatives are unconvinced.

Perry, meanwhile, is reminding all who will listen that he was a veteran and that he has the kind of leadership experience to be a tough foreign policy player. (Perry never saw combat during his service, as Democratic presidential hopeful Jim Webb did in Vietnam.) Perry opposes any deal with Iran on the grounds that the Islamic Republic cannot be trusted (“there ain’t going to be a good deal with Iran, because I don’t think you can trust them”) and wants to increase the United States’ military capacity (the military is at its smallest since 1940, Perry reminded his audience). Earlier on Monday, he said he would not have invaded Iraq knowing what he knows now, but lambasted President Obama for pulling out of Iraq early, CNN reported.

In Holstein, Perry chose as good a place as any to talk about uniformed service. The one-commercial street town, which has at its center a large granary and is in the heart of biofuel country, is predominantly traditional and in Iowa’s conservative West. There are more than 200 Eagle Scouts in the county of 7,000 people, and when Perry thanked “the mothers and fathers” of Eagle Scouts, there was wild applause.

Eagle Scouts and Scoutmasters dressed in full garb gathered after the town hall meeting was over and praised Perry’s time in the BSA.

“It would throw some weight with me,” said Jody Fraser, a Scoutmaster, said of Perry’s Eagle Scout rank.

“I think it does mean a lot in terms of character,” said Harry Oakley, a Marine Corps veteran and Eagle Scout who wore a felt blazer and jeans. “I’m glad that isn’t lost on Governor Perry.”

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