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Tags: Ted Cruz

Rand Paul’s ‘Epic’ Filibuster



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The Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt features a contrast in government tours, helpful words from a critical reader, and then the big news of the day . . .

Rand Paul Goes to Washington

Rand Paul added a lot of big fans Wednesday.

A day that was supposed to be just another Washington snow day brought us something we haven’t seen in a long time: an honest-to-goodness, in-keeping-with-the-Constitution, old-fashioned filibuster, all over a basic, fundamental concept central to our founding: the power of the central government is limited, and the government’s authority to exercise lethal force must be particularly and specifically limited.

Actual headline in USA Today: “Rand Paul ends epic filibuster over Brennan”

He started speaking around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. He finally ceded the floor at about 12:40 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Andrew Johnson & Nathaniel Botwinick give you the highlights of Rand Paul’s crusade:

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) took to the Senate floor today to filibuster President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan, as well as to challenge the administration’s policy on drones. Paul began speaking at approximately 11:47 a.m. . . .

Paul said he would be happy to end it if he had reassurance from the Obama administration that drone-strikes would not be used on noncombatants. After Reid left the floor, senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and John Cornyn of Texas joined in the effort.

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) took to the floor of the Senate this afternoon in support of Senator Paul. He thanked the senator for “defending the institution” of the Senate and its “constitutional obligation to ask relevant questions of public policy and get answers” through his filibuster.

The filibuster became a bipartisan effort when Oregon’s Democratic senator Ron Wyden joined Paul on the floor in its fourth hour. Wyden called for reining in the executive branch’s “serious, far-reaching” drone-strike program, saying that the targeted killings “should not be allowed . . . without any scrutiny.”

Three hours into Paul’s filibuster, fellow Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas joined the Kentucky senator on the floor. Cruz praised Paul for his leadership on the issue of drones and the rights of American citizens, calling him a “modern Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” who is “surely making Jimmy Stewart smile.” Along with Cruz, senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas joined Paul on the floor at roughly the same time.

John Podhoretz: “Attention everybody in Washington: This is how you make yourself a star.”

Writing at Breitbart, the Ace of Spades declared it genuinely exciting:

I have the same feeling of receding cynicism I did when the Tea Party first exploded on to the scene and began doing things that just weren’t done in America anymore — taking politics seriously, taking the Founders’ legacy to us seriously, showing up at Town Halls to ask their once and future representatives some real questions, engaging, questioning, insisting, demanding.

There was a time 200 years ago when this was commonplace. Americans had just won their liberty and were enthused about it. They treated their civic duty not as a mere duty but as the highest aspiration of political man.

This filibuster excites me for the same reasons — a return to the Old Ways, the ways that actually work, the way American politics is actually supposed to be conducted, with Senators offering thoughtful defenses of their positions and, above all, insisting that this nation is We the People not We the Ministers & Lesser Bureaucratic Warlords of Whatever Current Government the Public Has Had the Folly to Install in Office.

Jon Henke: “Kinda shocking that it takes a filibuster to get back the right not to be killed by our own government without a trial.”

Dana Loesch: “The left just exposed their hypocrisy on waterboarding by supporting drone killing without due process.”

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz generated his own fireworks, getting Eric Holder to appear to concur that the drone policy, as currently stated, runs afoul of the Constitution.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice sent shockwaves through the nation when Attorney General Eric Holder informed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in writing that the White House would be within its legal authority to execute an American citizen via drone on U.S. soil if that person was determined to pose a threat to national security. On Wednesday, testifying before a Senate panel, Holder was prodded repeatedly about this assertion by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Holder eventually admitted that it would not be constitutional to execute an American citizen without due process.

“In your legal judgment, does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to be killed by a drone?” Cruz asked Holder pointedly.

“For sitting in a café and having a cup of coffee?” Holder replied. Cruz clarified that his hypothetical individual subject to a drone strike did not pose an “imminent and immediate threat of death and bodily harm,” but that person is suspected to be a terrorist.

“I would not think that that would be an appropriate use of any kind of lethal force,” Holder replied.

“With all respect, Gen. Holder, my question wasn’t about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. It was a simple legal question,” Cruz clarified.

“This is a hypothetical, but I would not think, that in that situation, the use of a drone or lethal force would not be appropriate,” Holder replied.

“I have to tell you I find it remarkable that in that hypothetical, which is deliberately very simple, you are not able to give a simple, one-word answer: no,” Cruz added. He said he think that his scenario would constitute a “deprivation of life without due process.”

. . . When Cruz was about to abandon his line of questioning after a number of equivocations from Holder, the attorney general clarified that he was saying “no” such actions would not be constitutional.

Our Charlie Cooke: “I’m very disappointed. Rand Paul has been speaking about foundational American values for hours but he hasn’t yet mentioned contraception.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Drones , Marco Rubio , Rand Paul , Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, Well-Known and Well-Liked Early



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The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll finds that Senator Ted Cruz, who’s been on the job for two months, is slightly better known and slightly more popular than Senator John Cornyn, who has been on the job since 2002. Both men are Republicans.

The results for Cruz:

Please tell us whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neither favorable nor unfavorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz.

1. Very favorable 25%

2. Somewhat favorable 14%

3. Neither favorable nor unfavorable 16%

4. Somewhat unfavorable 7%

5. Very unfavorable 21%

6. Don’t know/No Opinion 17%

The numbers for Cornyn:

Please tell us whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neither favorable nor unfavorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of John Cornyn.

1. Very favorable 12%

2. Somewhat favorable 20%

3. Neither favorable nor unfavorable 18%

4. Somewhat unfavorable 11%

5. Very unfavorable 17%

6. Don’t know/No Opinion 21%

Tags: John Cornyn , Ted Cruz

Conflict-Hungry President Picks His Next Big Fight



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From the first Morning Jolt of the first full week of 2013…

The Hagel Hullabaloo: Conflict-Hungry President Picks His Next Fight

It’s official: “President Obama plans to nominate former senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and Vietnam veteran, to be secretary of defense on Monday, according to a person close to the process and a senior administration official. The White House informed the Hagel camp over the weekend that Obama intends to announce the nomination at the White House on Monday.”

So, how does that confirmation fight look?

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican freshman from Texas elected with strong backing from the tea party, said on “Fox News Sunday” that it was “very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support (Hagel’s) confirmation.”

“It’s interesting, the president seems bound and determined to proceed down this path despite the fact that Hagel’s record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel,” Cruz said. “He has not been a friend to Israel. And in my view the United States should stand unshakably with Israel.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, was softer in his tone toward Hagel, saying the former senator from Nebraska would receive a “thorough vetting” just like any other presidential nominee.

Robert Reich: “Wonder why the President is willing to spend his precious political capital getting Chuck Hagel confirmed as Defense Secretary.”

Because ever since he won reelection, he’s eager to pick fights to prove he can win them? Peggy Noonan summarized it this weekend:

I doubt now he has any intention of working with them on big reforms, of battling out a compromise at a conference table, of having long walks and long talks and making offers that are serious, that won’t be changed overnight to something else. The president intends to consistently beat his opponents and leave them looking bad, or, failing that, to lose to them sometimes and then make them look bad. That’s how he does politics.

Why?

Here’s my conjecture: In part it’s because he seems to like the tension. He likes cliffs, which is why it’s always a cliff with him and never a deal. He likes the high-stakes, tottering air of crisis. Maybe it makes him feel his mastery and reminds him how cool he is, unrattled while he rattles others. He can take it. Can they?

 Lindsey Graham seems to concur with that theory:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed dismay at reports President Obama would tap former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for Secretary of Defense, calling it an “in your face” selection.

“I like Chuck Hagel. He served with distinction in Vietnam as an enlisted man — two Purple Hearts. But quite frankly Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking on most issues regarding foreign policy,” said Graham in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“He has long severed his ties with the Republican party. This is an in your face nomination of the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” he added. “I don’t know what his management experience is in regards to the Pentagon or global if anyway, so I think it’s an extremely controversial choice.”

Say, John Aravosis, how will gays welcome Hagel’s nomination? “Hagel’s public record on gay rights is abominable… I’m willing to believe that the man has changed in the past two years (though it seems awfully opportune). but I’d like some proof, or at the very least, a convincing explanation. We’re received neither.”

(sigh) …Here we go again.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chuck Hagel , Lindsey Graham , Ted Cruz

A Fast, Furious Campaign Web Video from Ted Cruz



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The Senate campaign of Ted Cruz in Texas has teamed up with RedState’s Ben Howe to put together a quick two-minute video explaining the Fast & Furious scandal, how it ties to Attorney General Eric Holder, and how “this is an administration that thinks it is above the law.”

The Department of Justice’s inspector general has been conducting an internal investigation . . . for 416 days now.

Tags: Barack Obama , Eric Holder , Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Takes to the Airwaves!



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Texas Senate candidate and NR cover subject Ted Cruz is up on the air with his first ad:

The most recent poll, from the University of Texas in February, has Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst ahead with 38 percent and Cruz in second place at 27 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is at 7 percent.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Ted Cruz , Tom Leppert

Cruz-ing Past the $4 Million Mark



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Texas Senate candidate and NR cover subject Ted Cruz: The $4 million man. So far.

The Ted Cruz for Senate campaign has now raised over $4 million, effectively tying the overall fundraising of the sitting Lieutenant Governor. This remarkable fundraising continues the extraordinary momentum of the Ted Cruz for Senate campaign.

In the fourth fundraising quarter of 2011, Cruz raised $1,093,837. He ended the quarter having raised nearly $4 million overall, and with $2,868,822 cash on hand. As of mid-January, the Cruz campaign has now raised substantially more than $4 million.

The really amazing number? “Cruz has had 12,450 donors; Dewhurst has reported 823. Cruz’s average donation is $319; Dewhurst’s is $2,286. And yet their overall total raised is the same.”

Tags: David Dewhurst , Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz: Down 12 Points With Plenty of Time to Go



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A new poll puts Texas lieutenant governor David Dewhurst ahead in the Texas GOP Senate primary, but the campaign of Ted Cruz — you know him, you’ve seen him on the cover of NR — thinks the trends look good for their man.

As Cruz’s campaign manager, John Drogin, puts it:

These poll results dovetail with the Azimuth poll released two weeks ago. That poll showed Cruz and Dewhurst statistically tied (Cruz 32, Dewhurst 31) among the most active primary voters. That, too, is very encouraging; it shows that when voters hear Ted’s message, it resonates, and the most informed voters are trending heavily Cruz.

4. On a broader statewide level, which is what the Texas Tribune/UT poll measured, Dewhurst still has a significant name ID advantage. And he’ll spend millions of dollars of his own personal wealth running TV ads trying to hide from his record and convince voters he’s conservative. But, the more voters learn about Dewhurst’s actual record, the more his support collapses — that support is moving to Cruz.

Six months ago, Dewhurst had a massive lead. This is now a 12-point race.

Half of the Republican voters are still undecided, but Cruz has the best ground game and a strong conservative record that will appeal to undecided Republicans. And, having raised over $2.8 million — more than any other candidate in the race, including Dewhurst — Cruz will have the funding to get his message out.

The primary is March 6, 2012. If no one gets a majority — and with 11 Republicans of varying name ID running, it seems quite possible — there will be a runoff of the top two finishers on May 22.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Ted Cruz

The Demonsheep Ad of the 2012 Cycle?



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Call me crazy, but I sense a lot of “Demonsheep” in this new ad from Texas Senate candidate (and former state solicitor general) Ted Cruz, hitting his primary rival Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for skipping various party events:

It just lacked a nickname for his rival, like “the Duckhurst” or something.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Ted Cruz

Where’s Sanchez?



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Over on the home page, I take a look at retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez – campaigning as “Ric” Sanchez — in Texas’ Senate race. Despite a lot of optimistic headlines when he debuted in the race, he’s been rather quiet since then:

Despite all the fanfare, Sanchez has stumbled coming out of the gate, and the quiet debut doesn’t offer many signs that he’ll be the man to turn around Texas Democrats’ fortunes. His fundraising is pretty weak, considering the costs of running in Texas; in his first quarter as candidate, he raised about $160,000. (In the 2008 cycle, incumbent Republican senator John Cornyn raised $19.3 million and spent $18.9 million.) By contrast, on the Republican side, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz raised about $800,000 in his first quarter and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is putting more than $2 million of his own money into his campaign coffers. In Sanchez’s first quarterly report with the FEC, $9,000 of the $11,657 he spent in the quarter was to Integrity, a St. Louis tech company, for “website” expenses.

So far, Sanchez’s online effort is a nonentity, at least compared to those of his Republican rivals: 576 people like Sanchez’s Facebook page; for Ted Cruz, the total is 61,739. Sanchez has a Twitter account with one tweet, from June 7, and 46 followers. The Cruz campaign account has sent out 915 messages and has 14,203 followers. Sanchez’s campaign YouTube account has no videos posted yet. As of July 25, the last “news item” on hiscampaign website is dated June 8.

Needless to say, when I see the headline “Sanchez Debut Fizzles” I cringe, but that’s just my instincts as a Jets fan.

Tags: Ricardo Sanchez , Ted Cruz , Tom Leppert

Ted Cruz-es to Another Big Endorsement in Texas



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Ted Cruz continues to rack up the endorsements in the Texas GOP Senate primary: Formal endorsements from FreedomWorks PAC, Red State, the Club for Growth PAC, a glowing column from George Will, and now, Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund:

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, chairman of the Senate Conservatives Fund, announced the endorsement of former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

“I am very proud to endorse Ted Cruz for the Senate seat in Texas,” said Senator DeMint. “He’s the strongest conservative in the race and he’s earned the support of the grassroots in Texas. Ted Cruz has a deep appreciation for the U.S. Constitution and he’s someone conservatives can count on to fight for the principles of freedom that make America great.”

“An establishment candidate with deep pockets will enter this race soon so it’s even more important now for freedom-loving Americans to unite behind Ted Cruz. He’s put together a very strong campaign but needs help from Texans and folks across the country to win.”

That “establishment candidate with deep pockets” that DeMint is referring to is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Cruz joins Josh Mandel in Ohio as DeMint-endorsed Republican candidates.

spoke to Cruz earlier this year; one of his comments included:

To my mind, what this primary is about in Texas is helping to provide real leadership to stand up and stop the Obama agenda. One thing that I have told Tea Party activists around the state is that if I simply go to Washington and serve in the U.S. Senate and vote correctly, 100 percent all the time, I will consider myself an abject failure. I’ve asked them to hold me accountable — if that’s all I do, hold me accountable for not doing my job. The reason I’m running is not merely to vote right. What we have a desperate need for is real leadership to stand up and defend free-market principles. And if I am not helping lead the fight, standing there with arrows in my torso, I will not be doing my job.

For too long, there have been a few lonely leaders in Washington, such as Jim DeMint in the Senate and Paul Ryan in the House. 2010 provided them with much-needed reinforcement — some very strong leaders such as Mike Lee and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. But what this election is all about is helping provide leadership to defend free-market principles and stop the Obama agenda.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Jim DeMint , Ted Cruz

FreedomWorks PAC Likes Ted Cruz



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In the crowded and contentious Republican Senate primary in Texas, FreedomWorks PAC moves early and endorses former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, declaring that he will “best serve the interests of hardworking Texas taxpayers by advocating the principles of lower taxes, less government and more individual freedom.”

I spoke to Cruz earlier this year; one of his comments included:

To my mind, what this primary is about in Texas is helping to provide real leadership to stand up and stop the Obama agenda. One thing that I have told Tea Party activists around the state is that if I simply go to Washington and serve in the U.S. Senate and vote correctly, 100 percent all the time, I will consider myself an abject failure. I’ve asked them to hold me accountable — if that’s all I do, hold me accountable for not doing my job. The reason I’m running is not merely to vote right. What we have a desperate need for is real leadership to stand up and defend free-market principles. And if I am not helping lead the fight, standing there with arrows in my torso, I will not be doing my job.

For too long, there have been a few lonely leaders in Washington, such as Jim DeMint in the Senate and Paul Ryan in the House. 2010 provided them with much-needed reinforcement — some very strong leaders such as Mike Lee and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. But what this election is all about is helping provide leadership to defend free-market principles and stop the Obama agenda.

Tags: FreedomWorks , Ted Cruz

Ready to Cruz



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Over on the home page, an interview with Ted Cruz, former state solicitor general of Texas and a rising star GOP candidate in that state’s Senate race.

Tags: Ted Cruz

Cruz, Williams Campaign Web Sites Up and Running Already



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That didn’t take long. Texas Republicans Michael Williams and Ted Cruz have web sites up and running for their Senate campaigns.

I suspect many conservatives will find the choice between the two like selecting between their two favorite meals, wishing they had enough room for both. Jay Nordlinger sings the praises of Cruz here; meanwhile, RedState’s Erick Erickson endorsed Michael Williams last year when it looked like Kay Bailey Hutchison might retire early, but is now on the fence.

Tags: Kay Bailey Hutchison , Michael Williams , Ted Cruz

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