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February 18 2014

07:31

January 15 2014

05:11

Chris Christie’s Future With The G.O.P.

The fate of Chris Christie in the shadow of “Bridgegate.” Top GOP strategists and political reporters join us.

Governor Chris Christie talks to a reporter following a visit to Fort Lee Borough Hall Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in Fort Lee, N.J. to apologize to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich about the governor's staff allegedly closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September. (AP)

Governor Chris Christie talks to a reporter following a visit to Fort Lee Borough Hall Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, in Fort Lee, N.J. to apologize to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich about the governor’s staff allegedly closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September. (AP)

Guests

Matt Katz, WNYC / New Jersey Public Radio reporter. Former political reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. (@MattKatz00)

McKay Coppins, senior writer for BuzzFeed. (@McKayCoppins)

Keith Appell, senior vice president at CRC Public Relations, longtime G.O.P. political strategist. (@KeithCRC)

Steve Deace, host of the nationally-syndicatedSteve Deace Show, based in Iowa. (@SteveDeaceShow)

From Tom’s Reading List

Bergen Record: GWB probe targets Christie’s office; renewal of subpoena power expected — “The George Washington Bridge lane-closure investigation could reach into Governor Christie’s office as early as Monday when a new round of subpoenas is expected to land on the desks of key members of Christie’s inner circle, a Democratic legislator leading the probe said on Saturday. Assemblyman John Wisniewski said he plans to issue subpoenas demanding documents from the governor’s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and spokesman Michael Drewniak, along with other aides whose names surfaced last week in documents related to the lane closures in early September.”

NPR:  Beyond The Bridge, Christie Faces Questions About Sandy Funds — “There’s good news and bad news in the poll. A third of New Jerseyans think that Christie himself was involved in the decision to close the toll lanes, which caused the traffic jam – it’s only a third. But two-thirds do not accept the governor’s timeline about when he found out about the political retribution involved in this traffic scandal. And so there’s some mixed numbers here. It’s a great for the governor but it certainly could be worse.”

BuzzFeed: Why Conservatives Aren’t Rushing To Chris Christie’s Defense – “Christie has been at odds with his party’s right wing ever since the final days of the 2012 campaign, when many on the right believe he abandoned his efforts to elect Mitt Romney in pursuit of his own image as a champion of bipartisanship — embracing President Obama, often literally, in a series of widely publicized photos and interviews in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. He went on to stake out decidedly centrist positions on a number of issues during his reelection campaign, and when he won in a landslide, he lectured the rest of the GOP about why they should follow his lead.”

 

December 17 2013

23:26

The GOP’s ‘Manchurian Candidates’ And Other Thoughts

Our Nov. 17 conversation with Michael Needham of the influential conservative political group Heritage Action and former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette took a close look at the state of the Republican Party as different sides of the party’s base struggle for control of the dominant narrative.

Needham, whose group is credited by some for pioneering the government shutdown as a way to defund and repeal the Affordable Care Act, spoke of the “bold, conservative ideas” that were helping the Republican Party, while LaTourette, a former Congressional ally and close friend of House Speaker John Boehner, accused Needham’s group of helping move the party toward “fratricide.”

Michael Needham On “The Reality” Of The Republican Grassroots

“I think the Speaker was being absurd there. Look the Republican Party is at it’s best when it’s the party of Ronald Reagan: standing for limited government, free enterprise, people who want to start business or go to their jobs and come home to their family. I think that many Republicans woke up in 2001, thought that President Bush had won an election, thought that it was gonna be a continuation of what Ronald Reagan did for the countr,y and were surprised to find that K Street had taken hold of the Republican Party. And now there’s a sense from I think many members of Congress that we’re back in control, we’re gonna kinda let the good good times roll, K Street will continue to call the shots, and the grassroots aren’t taking it anymore. And I think that we are one way that they’re having a voice in Washington, but there’s many other ways, and it’s the reality of the world we live in today.”

Steve LaTourette On The Heritage Action ‘Fratricide’

Heritage Action is not the Republican Party. And I do in fact care deeply about the Republican Party, as I’m sure he does, but  the fact of the matter is that his group, Club for Growth, Freedom Works have engaged sort of in this fratricide, and they’re not going after, with the same vigor, Democrats, who I think get zero or less than zero on their scorecards. And instead they’re inciting inter-party violence in primary elections and threatening to make the Republican Party regional, marginalized party that can have a slim majority in the House of Representatives but never again elect a President of the United States. And you know, cause some candidates to blow up in Senate races — the witch in Delaware, and Mr. Mourdock in Indiana and in other places. And you know, Speaker Boehner’s frustration was, you know, I think he’d had enough. The government shutdown was a stupid strategy. Anybody that mapped it out and said, ‘Well President Obama all of a sudden is going to sign a piece of legislation giving up on what you could argue what was the biggest and only accomplishment of his Presidency.’  I mean that’s just crazy. And to sell it that way to people and to ask them to send you money to fight the fight and support Senator Cruz, that’s what I think has the Speaker frustrated and I think he’s right to be frustrated.”

Michael Needham On How The Heritage Strategy Is Working

“It’s funny to kind of unpack that statement.  What everyone is saying today, is that they’re happy that Speaker Boehner shot us down last week because we’ve had too much control of the House, we’ve had too much influence and now he’s putting us in our place.  A year ago the Republican Party was seven points under water on the generic Congressional ballot. Today, they’re three points over water.  If you’ve improved by ten percentage points with the face of the party being the bold conservatism of Ronald Reagan and the commitment to the free enterprise system that Ted Cruz has, maybe that’s something that we should repeat. We know what happens when big entrenched interests run the Republican Party. And we saw it 2006, we saw unfortunately with this claim in 2012 that if we just didn’t stick our neck out, we didn’t make ourselves the issue, that the people would rebel against Obama and Mitt Romney would get to the finish line, and it didn’t work. Republicans are at their best when they stand for those values that make our country great.”

Steve LaTourette On Why The GOP Doesn’t Control The Senate

“We just want to be Republicans. We want to co-exist with Heritage Action, we want to co-exist with Club For Growth, we want to co-exist with the Ttea Party, we see the Tea Party and the conservative bloc of the Republican Party of being an important part of the Party…that’s the point. We want to be left alone. And you don’t see center-right Republican organizations, like mine, going out and actively recruiting candidates to wipe out or attack or defeat in Republican primaries more conservative candidates. But consistently that’s going on, particularly on the Senate side, and I would argue if it wasn’t for the efforts of these folks, we would have as a party functional control of the Senate, over fifty votes. But that’s been denied to us by Sharon Angle, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, the witch in Delaware, and on and on and on.”

Steve LaTourette On ‘Manchurian Candidate’ Conservative Republicans

“That reference of his, that we’re gonna get in the face, and knock the snot out of groups like his, and Club for Growth that continue to put these Manchurian Candidates that are not electable against center -right Republicans, who are good Republicans. These groups have no imprimatur to define who’s a good Republican and who is not a good Republican. And there’s a reason we don’t have one representative in New England, we’ve gone from like 12 to three in New York, and it’s not because we don’t have Republicans. It’s because we don’t have Republicans who can win elections based upon some of the principles that some of the Republicans in other parts of the country have.”

Michael Needham On How Conservative Candidates Are Helping The Republican Party’s Mission

“If we’re going to be fair, it’s the Tea Party, it’s the anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party that is responsible for Marco Rubio being the Senator from Florida.That’s responsible for Ted Cruz — who was outspent twenty-to-one — being the Senator from Texas, who was given a primetime spot at the GOP convention because he’s an exciting new face for the party. That’s responsible for Nikki Haley being the Governor from South Carolina — when she was the number four choice behind an attorney general, a Lieutenant Governor and a sitting Congressman of the D.C. establishment — being the exciting new face of the Republican Party down in South Carolina. In general, when the Tea Party or when the anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party  loses, they still go out they work for the establishment candidate that won, they show up at the polls. When it’s the moderates who take their balls and consistently go home. So when Lugar loses to Mourdock he refuses to endorse. Charlie Crist loses to Marco Rubio, and he changes parties and becomes a Democrat. Linc Chafee loses and he changes parties and becomes a Democrat. Lisa Murkowski loses, and she runs a write in campaign.”

Steve LaTourette On Expanding The Republican Party Beyond ‘Angry Old White Guys’

“If you look at the results of 2012, President Obama should not have been reelected with unemployment where it was. And the fight and the discussion is, and I know Michael has an opinion on this, but the fight within the party is, they would argue, it’s because we weren’t conservative enough, and we weren’t bold enough and so forth and so on. I would argue, that in order to win a national election, you need more than angry 57 year-old white guys in South Carolina and below the Mason Dixon line. and you have to attract other voters that don’t necessarily hue to some of the the messages. Ted Cruz’s message is fine in Texas, Rubio’s fine in Florida. They don’t play so well in Massachusetts. When I got here, we had two Republicans, Peter Blute and Peter Torkildsen, from Massachuseets. We had two in Maine, we had two in New Hamsphire, We don’t have any anymore.”

What do you make of the Republican Party’s internal struggle? Is it as divided as it sounds? Angling for national control? Angry for no reason? Better off than it seems? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

November 08 2013

15:00

Week In The News: Election 2013, Twitter IPO And Toronto’s Messy Mayor

Chris Christie and election night winners. Sebelius back in the hot seat. Twitter goes public. Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

A crack smoking mayor across the border this week, and early signals in the US on 2016 politics ahead.  Chris Christie wins big as a fighting GOP moderate.  The tea party man loses in Virginia.  New York elects a mayor who’s vowed to take on inequality.  Stay tuned.  In Washington, the president says he’s sorry for Americans who are losing health policies.  They’ll have better policies says the White House.  The Senate votes gay rights in the workplace.  Twitter has a big-time IPO.  New jobs numbers and the GDP, up pretty strong.  Up next On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Alexander Burns, senior political reporter for Politico. (@ABurnsPolitico)

Kasie Hunt, reporter covering politics and Congress for NBC News. (@Kasie)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Politico: How Terry McAuliffe mapped his Virginia win — “Recognizing from the start that his path to victory was slim, McAuliffe’s campaign invested early and heavily in establishing powerful tactical advantages over Cuccinelli, including sophisticated modeling of the Virginia electorate, experimentally-vetted messaging and a vast turnout operation that sent more than 13,000 volunteers into the field in the last four days of the election.”

NBC News: Paul pledges ‘new approval process’ amid plagiarism charges — “Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will create a ‘new approval process” for his speeches and written material after facing charges of plagiarism, a senior adviser said in a statement Tuesday. In a written statement, adviser Doug Stafford also suggested that some instances of possible plagiarism came from staffers, acknowledging that some information was not ‘clearly sourced or vetted properly.’”

New York Times: G.O.P. Weighs Limiting Clout of Right Wing — “While the discussion may appear arcane, it reflects a fierce struggle for power between the activist, often Tea Party-dominated wing of the Republican Party — whose members tend to be devoted to showing up and organizing at events like party conventions — and the more mainstream wing, which is frustrated by its inability to rein in the extremist elements and by the fact that its message is not resonating with more voters.”

November 07 2013

01:41

Halperin And Heilemann Handicap Chris Christie

Our Wednesday, Nov. 6 hour focused on a wide range of topics, but mostly, we just doubled down with authors and political analysts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann as they discussed their new book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012.” It’s a big, brassy read that focuses on the inside story of the 2012 presidential election, and collects all the stories that didn’t get aired in the run up to President Barack Obama’s re-election victory against former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

The book also provides a helper filter through which to parse this Tuesday’s elections around the country, and gives an eye toward the looming 2016 presidential race as it discusses newly-re-elected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now widely seen a frontrunner in the Republican nomination game for the next political go-round in three years.

Halperin saw the 2013 gubernatorial elections in Virginia in and New Jersey as an endorsement of the political center.

The more centrist candidates won, people who make a big point in talking about working across the aisle.

Governor Christie takes a victory, about 60 percent of the vote, very large percentage of the vote from groups that Republicans have not been doing well with and positions himself to be even more so one of the leading possible candidates for president in 2016.

As Christie hit up the big tallies in broad demographic categories, including women, African Americans and the young, Halperin saw much to look forward to in a potential Christie candidacy in 2016.

Clearly, over-performing what Mitt Romney did, what most Republicans have done in most parts of the country of late. And that alone, along with some of his rhetoric and his formidable political skills puts himself in the position, as I’ve said, to be considered a big potential candidate for 2016 on the presidential side of the Republicans.

In the shadow of Christie’s victory, Halperin saw traces of what the ‘white hot spotlight’ of the presidential trail could mean for the hard-charging Republican governor. Once considered to be a top candidate for Gov. Romeny’s Vice Presidential nod, Christie faded out of the spotlight in the summer of 2012.

Governor Romney had reservations about some of they things that his advisers turned up in the materials they got from Governor Christie and some of the public record. They were also a little concerned because Governor Christie was late in handing over some materials whereas the other people under consideration handed things over promptly. There were some red flags so Governor Romney took Governor Christie off the list.

But then one of his advisers, Stuart Stevens, who was kind of his chief political aide, said in the end of June, ‘You know we need a street fighter, this campaign is not going well,’ right around the Fourth of July holiday. ‘We need somebody who can get in the media, be a street fighter and really take it to Barack Obama and that’s Chris Christie’ so Governor Romney told his advisers, ‘You know what, we need to go back in and look at the record on Chris Christie.

And what they found was, as Governor Romney said, was mostly things that are part of the public record, and one of Governor Romney’s aides made that point to him during this process and said, you know, this guy’s been looked at in New Jersey, and Governor Romney said correctly, ‘There’s a big difference. No mater what state you run in, no matter how big a deal it is. If you run for president or you get put on the ticket the scrutiny is gonna be much, much higher and things are gonna look different and things are gonna come out that are different.

You think about Bill Clinton and White Water, you think about George Bush and his drunk driving arrest. There’s just things that come out even if you run in a bigger, politically competitive state. So you had Governor Romney, then faced with the decision — could he go forward with Chris Christie?

It was not so much any one smoking gun of things they found or questions that were unanswered it was the totality of all the things and Governor Romney reached the decision, ‘Well I’d don’t want a distraction, I wanna pick a running mate who keeps the spotlight on me and doesn’t create controversy,’ that’s why he didn’t pick ‘em, the day after he got the vetting report with all these red flags in it he said no Chris Christie  and he moved on to Pual Ryan.

The implications moving forward are pretty clear. Because now the public knows some of the red flags involving his personal finances, his work as a lobbyist, about his medical background and history all these things are gonna be scrutinized now as they shoud lbe

And the questions are gonna be for Governor Christie, if he runs for president two-fold: How does he handle the investigation into his background and what are the underlying facts? And they were troubling enough for Governor Romney that he didn’t want him on the ticket. That doesn’t mean that any of these things are going to keep him from being elected president, but they certainly are red flags.

Heilmann detailed the so-called ‘red flags’ that prevented Christie from joining the Romney ticket.

Some of the stuff is in the public record. There’s a long list of things, the cumulative weight of these things. For a period of time, Governor Christie was a lobbyist working on behalf of the Securities Industry Association of America when it was lobbying to keep financial fraud out of, exempted from New Jersey state consumer protection law. At the time that he was a lobbyist for that group, the group was headed by Bernie Madoff. For Governor Romney’s vetters who looked at that, they said, ‘This is a 30 second attack ad waiting to happen.’

There were also a series of things related to Governor Christie’s brother who had a settlement with the SEC in a civil matter that he was not totally forthcoming with. And when the vetters asked Governor Christie for more details about that he did not provide them with what they thought of as adequate information. They asked him for more details about his health records, Governor Christie didn’t provide what they thought of as adequate information about his health background, about his household help, and about his other lobbying clients.

Those were a series of things that not things in the public record but were things…that they had questions about, and when Governor Christie was not as forthcoming with as they expected him to be and as every one of the members of the short list for VP consideration were, their attitude was, Beth Myers , the woman who ran Governor Romney’s vice presidential vetting team, her attitude was she told her team,

If he’s not answering questions, we should assume that the answers are bad.’

What will the revelations in “Double Down” really mean for Gov. Christie and the rest of the potential 2016 field? It’s too soon to tell, but there’s still plenty of time to parse through all the gossip and political intrigue before the next set of primary battles begin in January 2016.

October 24 2013

04:17

Big Money And The G.O.P. ‘Civil War’

The big money squaring off in the GOP’s hot in-house struggle. From the Koch Brothers to Karl Rove to the Tea Party, we’ll look at whose cash is fueling what.

Guests

Jim Rutenberg, national political reporter for the New York Times. (@JimRutenberg)

Paul Blumenthal, political campaign and finance reporter for the Huffington Post. (@PaulBlu)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War’ –  ”The budget fight that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years did not just set off a round of recriminations among Republicans over who was to blame for the politically disastrous standoff. It also heralded a very public escalation of a far more consequential battle for control of the Republican Party, a confrontation between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans that will play out in the coming Congressional and presidential primaries in 2014 and 2016 but has been simmering since President George W. Bush’s administration, if not before.”

Wall Street Journal: Republicans Walked Into Obama’s Trap — “Backers of the defund strategy never offered a plausible way forward after their approach failed. Instead, they alienated colleagues who disagreed by insisting they were closet ObamaCare supporters and the defunders’ outside allies raised the threat of primary challenges. They became content to sit in judgment of plans offered by the House leadership, turning thumbs down on anything not in conformity with their now discredited tactic.”

Slate: Tea-ism — “when you put aside the shutdown, the Tea Party members who now run the House are producing much more for the financial industry, for small business organizations, than Democrats would if they took back the House. No one’s looking to primary the average Class of 2010 Republican because he’s trying to repeal Dodd-Frank or challenge EPA rules or prevent any changes in tax law that would anger the donors.”

July 27 2013

00:15

Jul 26, 2013 — Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis

June 28 2013

21:00

October 05 2010

04:27

Glenn Beck’s Political Appeal

Getting Glenn Beck. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, The Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti, and Mark Leibovich of the New York Times, on what makes Beck tick and what makes him popular.

September 23 2010

19:55

Week in the News

Larry Summers will leave the White House. Don’t ask don’t tell doesn’t change. Republicans trumpet their plans. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

September 17 2010

19:25

Paul Ryan’s Conservative Roadmap

Rising hard-right Republican star Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin lays out his big vision for a much more conservative country.

September 10 2010

03:25

Week in the News

Obama challenges the GOP on tax cuts. A plan to burn the Quran. BP share blame for blowout. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

September 08 2010

01:21

Sarah Palin’s Road Show; A Gospel of Thrift

We talk with Vanity Fair reporter Michael Joseph Gross, about his big new---and controversial -- profile of Tea Party powerbroker Sarah Palin. Plus, we hear a new gospel of thrift, from a young megachurch pastor.
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