Rand Paul knocks Jeb, Hillary dynasties with ‘secret tape’

Rand_Paul_2013_CPAC_by_Gage_SkidmoreSen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is stepping up his social media game in order to reach the coveted millennial demographic. Earlier this week he gave an interview to CNN via the photo and video messaging application Snapchat, and now he plans to distribute the audio of a fake phone call between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton via Twitter and other social platforms.

Actors were hired to enact the conversation, which dings both Bush and Clinton on the dynasty issue. Read the transcript below or listen here:

Bush: “Hey, Hill. It’s Jeb.”

Clinton: “Hey, Jeb. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

Bush: “Well, it’s true — I’m thinking about running for president.”

Clinton: “Well, Jeb, so am I.”

Bush: “I just wanted to call and give you a heads up in hopes we could work something out.”

Clinton: “What do you mean, Jeb? It’s clearly my turn: Bush, Clinton, Bush. Now, Clinton.”

Bush: “Well, Hillary, there hasn’t been a Republican White House without a Bush since 1977, and we’re ready to be back.”

Clinton: “Let me shoot straight with you, Jeb, OK? Bill and I are dead broke and need a place to stay. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is calling me home — I’ve still got the back door key. Being president offers a lot more job security than writing another memoir.”

Bush: “Well, the Bushes have weathered attacks before. And, READ MY LIPS, Hillary: We’re not backing down this time.”

Clinton: “Well, you’re right — maybe we can work something out. We both agree on so many issues: bigger government, Common Core and amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

Bush: “Well, we’ve both got problems. You’ve got problems with the grass roots, and I’ve got all those damn conservatives. What say, we make a deal?”

[Call beeps in.]

Bush: “Sorry, Hillary, but I have to go. Mitt keeps calling.”

Clinton: “Oh, for crying out loud.”

If this isn’t an indication that Paul intends to run for president, it’s at the very least proof that we need someone new in the White House.

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At least one Taliban detainee swapped for Bergdahl suspected of militant activities

taliban_fiveU.S. military and intelligence officials suspect that at least one of the five Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May 2014 has attempted to make contact with suspected Taliban associates in Afghanistan in an effort to return to militant activity.

Is anyone surprised?:

This is the first known suggestion that any of the detainees involved in the exchange may be trying to engage again in militant activity. It comes at a politically sensitive time as the administration has quickened the pace of prisoner release in an effort to encourage the closure of the Guantanamo, and the Army must decide in the coming weeks whether and how to punish Bergdahl for leaving his post.

Several U.S. officials across different agencies and branches of the U.S. government have confirmed key details to CNN. The White House referred CNN to the Pentagon.

The officials would not say which of the five men is suspected. But an ongoing U.S. intelligence program to secretly intercept and monitor all of their communications in Qatar turned up evidence in recent months that one of them has “reached out” to try to encourage militant activity, one official said. The official would offer no further details.

Under current law, this act placed the man in the category of being “suspected” of re-engaging in terrorist or insurgent activities. However, several officials say there is now a debate inside the administration that the intelligence may be stronger than the “suspected” classification. Some elements of the intelligence community believe the information is strong enough to classify the man as “confirmed” for returning to illegal activities. All five men are having their communications even more closely monitored right now, but the belief is there is no current threat, one official told CNN.

In case you’re wondering what the different is between “suspected” and “confirmed” militant activity, here are the definitions:

Under intelligence laws, the definition of “confirmed” for returning to militant activity is that there is a “preponderance of information which identifies a specific former GITMO detainee as directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities.”

The definition of ‘suspected” is that there is “plausible but unverified or single-source reporting indicating a specific former Gitmo detainee is directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities.”

The “Taliban Five” were released to Qatar. The Qatari government promised to monitor their activities, but the exact terms of the deal have never been made public.

Again: Is anyone surprised?

Mitt Romney NOT running in 2016

Mitt_Romney_by_Gage_Skidmore_6After weeks and weeks of speculation, Mitt Romney officially announced during a Friday morning conference call to supporters that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

Here’s the full text of Romney’s statement, via Hugh Hewitt’s website:

Let me begin by letting you know who else is on this call, besides Ann and me. There are a large number of people who signed on to be leaders of our 2016 finance effort. In addition, state political leadership from several of the early primary states are on the line. And here in New York City, and on the phone, are people who have been helping me think through how to build a new team, as well as supporters from the past who have all been kind enough to volunteer their time during this deliberation stage. Welcome, and thank you. Your loyalty and friendship, and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership warms my heart.

After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.

Let me give you some of my thinking. First, I am convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination. Our finance calls made it clear that we would have enough funding to be more than competitive. With few exceptions, our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race. And the reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening. I know that early poll numbers move up and down a great deal during a campaign, but we would have no doubt started in a strong position. One poll out just today shows me gaining support and leading the next closest contender by nearly two to one. I also am leading in all of the four early states. So I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but fully realize it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.

I also believe with the message of making the world safer, providing opportunity to every American regardless of the neighborhood they live in, and working to break the grip of poverty, I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee, but that is before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters.

I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.

I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country.   But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.

I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.

I encourage all of you on this call to stay engaged in the critical process of selecting a Republican nominee for President. Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee.

I believe a Republican winning back the White House is essential for our country, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.

To all my supporters, friends and family who worked both tirelessly and loyally to support my campaigns in the past, I will always be deeply appreciative. What you have already done is a tribute to your patriotism. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your loyalty to us, by your generosity of spirit, and by your friendship. God bless you all.

With Romney out, who do you want to run for president? Take the ALPAC 2016 Presidential Preference Poll now!

Obama budget increases spending by $74 billion

0Barack Obama won’t formally unveil his 2016 budget proposal until Monday, but several key details have already been made known. On Thursday, a White House official revealed that one of Obama’s requests is to raise discretionary spending by $74 billion above the levels permitted by sequestration:

The increase amounts to a 7 percent increase over sequestration levels. The budget includes $530 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, an increase of $37 billion over the limits, the official said.

Obama’s defense spending proposal totals $561 billion, $38 billion more than the spending caps.

The announcement provides the first details of how much Obama will propose increasing spending when he releases his full budget proposal on Monday. He’s going to make the case that the next round of automatic spending cuts, which are scheduled to begin in October, should be canceled so Congress can spend more on national security and domestic needs — especially now that the Congressional Budget Office has reported that short-term deficits are shrinking.

Republicans are unlikely to go along with this argument:

“It’s disappointing though not surprising that President Obama is once again attempting to unravel a bipartisan fiscal accomplishment in order to increase spending across the board and raise taxes,” said Will Allison, a spokesman for the House Budget Committee. “The president should work with Congress to ensure the military has the resources it needs to complete its mission and to achieve deficit reduction within the caps through smarter reforms and savings.”

However, even POLITICO admits that Obama isn’t really trying to win over Republicans:

Obama isn’t really making his case to the Republicans, though — he’s making it to Democrats and their supporters. He’s scheduled to outline his plans to House Democrats at their retreat in Philadelphia tonight, and he has already given a preview of his combative tone in an op-ed in the Huffington Post this morning — suggesting he’s broadcasting mainly to a liberal audience.

“If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military,” Obama wrote in the op-ed. “Investments in key areas will fall to their lowest level in ten years, adjusted for inflation, putting American research, education, infrastructure, and national security at risk. But if Congress joins me, we can make sure that ending sequestration is fully paid for by cutting inefficient spending and closing tax loopholes.”

Notice how he says, “if Congress joins me.” As usual, it’s all about what Obama wants.

Senate authorizes Keystone XL

keystone-pipelineThe Senate passed legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline by a 62-36 vote Thursday. Unfortunately, supporters fell four votes shy of the 67 needed to overturn Obama’s coming veto:

Nine Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill, which would OK the $8 billion Canada-to-Texas project. The bill was the first test for the GOP-led Senate, which pledged to stick to an open amendment process that was laborious and at times contentious over the nearly three weeks the bill was on the floor.

The bill now will go to the House for passage or head to a conference for reconciliation with the House version passed earlier this month. Obama already has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would circumvent a federal review that has taken more than six years.

“We’ll see what happens going forward. But this was a tremendous bipartisan effort,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the bill’s lead sponsor, who added he’s not certain when the bill would come back for a vote if vetoed.

Democrats are certain they can block an attempt to override an eventual Obama veto. The pipeline’s supporters were four votes shy Thursday of the 67 needed to overturn a veto.

“It’s pretty clear that there are not the votes to override the bill in the House or the Senate,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters at a press conference in the Capitol.

Republicans continue to hold onto hope, however. Sen. Hoeven believes Obama might approve the project if it is wrapped into broader energy legislation or a spending bill, although Democrats are skeptical.