Greg Abbott on the Presidential Race

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) met with National Review’s Washington staff this afternoon for a mostly off-the-record conversation. At one point, though, he spoke on the record about what he is looking for in a presidential candidate.

He mentioned five criteria. The first was that the candidate would have to be a “committed constitutionalist.”

Second, the candidate would have to be willing to rein in the EPA, which Abbott believes is overreaching.

Third, the candidate would have to agree to give states more flexibility over Medicaid, and ideally block-grant it.

Fourth, the candidate would have to be strong on border security and agree to reimburse Texas for costs it has incurred in trying to achieve it.

Fifth, the candidate would have to either abolish the Department of Education or reduce its power over state education policy, and in particular its ability to direct funding to states that make policy choices the department wants. If the department is to continue, he said, its best role would be to serve as a clearinghouse for information.

Abbott may not make any endorsement in the presidential primaries. Presidential candidates who want his endorsement, though, now know his priorities.

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