REPUBLICANS

Obama Criticizes Trump and Other GOP Candidates

The Republicans try to win over the House Freedom caucus.

Feb. 17, 2016, 10:45 a.m.

“Pres­id­ent Obama on Tues­day offered an ex­ten­ded cri­tique of the Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning to re­place him, de­scrib­ing them as ‘troub­ling’ to people around the world and singling out” real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) “someone who would not be a ser­i­ous pres­id­ent.”

Obama: “There is not a single can­did­ate in the Re­pub­lic­an primary that thinks we should do any­thing about cli­mate change, that thinks it’s ser­i­ous. … Well that’s a prob­lem. The rest of the world looks at that and says, ‘Well, how can that be?’” (New York Times)

COURT­ING FREE­DOM. Now that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is out of the race, the rest of the Re­pub­lic­an field is angling to win over the House Free­dom Caucus.

Many mem­bers of the Free­dom Caucus are field­ing calls from the can­did­ates.

Rep Mick Mul­vaney (R-SC): “They all reached out one way or an­oth­er. … It’s pretty trans­par­ent, isn’t it? Sev­er­al of these people have nev­er called me be­fore in my life and now they want to talk.” (Politico)

AIR­WAVE BATTLE. “In the Re­pub­lic­an race,” former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) “Su­per PAC and cam­paign have spent nearly $13 mil­lion in ads for this Sat­urday’s South Car­o­lina primary on Feb. 20 - fol­lowed by” Sen. Marco Ru­bio (R-FL) “and his al­lies at $11 mil­lion in the state,” Sen. Ted Cruz  (R-TX) “at $8 mil­lion and Don­ald Trump at $1.3 mil­lion.” (NBC News)

TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE? “In an elec­tion year, when a can­did­ate’s vot­ing re­cord can be be­ne­fi­cial or polit­ic­ally dam­aging, can­did­ates like Mr. Ru­bio and one of his rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz, have been mak­ing cal­cu­lated ap­pear­ances in the Sen­ate. The cost of miss­ing a key vote could be much worse than the cost of miss­ing an im­port­ant polit­ic­al rally or a fun­draiser on the cam­paign trail.”

Sarah Bind­er, a polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or at The George Wash­ing­ton Uni­versity: “Neither could af­ford to skip the vote if there was a chance that the oth­er sen­at­or would show up to vote and then claim to be tough­er on North Korea than his op­pon­ent.” (Wall Street Journ­al)

WIN­NING EVAN­GEL­IC­ALS. “While preach­ers and faith lead­ers back oth­ers, Trump has still com­mand­eered sup­port from those sit­ting in the pews [in South Car­o­lina].”

Scott Huff­mon, a polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or at Win­throp Uni­versity: “When they go to the bal­lot box, South Car­o­lina voters be­have like voters, not church­go­ers. … That’s a little dif­fer­ent than Iowa cause they do tend to co­alesce be­hind one can­did­ate, but not here.”

“The evan­gel­ic­al vote will be split widely among the can­did­ates, but Trump has done per­haps the best job of strik­ing a chord with con­ser­vat­ives on is­sues that have frus­trated them like im­mig­ra­tion and ter­ror­ism, said Jim Guth, polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or at Fur­man Uni­versity.” (Columbia State)

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM. “Flor­ida and Ohio, the two biggest win­ner-take-all prizes on the pres­id­en­tial primary cal­en­dar in March, aren’t wait­ing un­til next month to vote. They’re vot­ing now — and with po­ten­tially pro­found con­sequences for the 2016 cam­paign.”

“Strug­gling to sur­vive un­til their home states’ votes are tal­lied March 15,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Ru­bio (R-FL) “are ra­cing to bank tens of thou­sands of early bal­lots that are in­creas­ingly be­ing cast well be­fore primary day.”

“In Flor­ida, nearly 850,000 Re­pub­lic­an ab­sent­ee bal­lots have so far been re­ques­ted. Al­most 43,000 Flor­idi­ans have already voted, roughly 25,000 of them Re­pub­lic­ans.” (Politico)

ON THE TRAIL. Sev­er­al can­did­ates are look­ing ahead to Vir­gina’s March 1 primary and hold­ing events in the state.

Kasich will hold a town hall at Vir­gin­ia Com­mon­wealth uni­versity on Monday, and Trump and Car­son will sep­ar­ately ap­pear at Re­gent Uni­versity’s can­did­ate series. (Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch)

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