Entries in Candidates (10)


Indiana’s Senate Candidates Agree, Mostly: Term Limits for Federal Lawmakers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While presidential battleground states are saturated with messages on the economy, taxes and health care, quite a different topic of discussion has garnered surprise consensus in Indiana’s competitive Senate race, on a topic politicians don’t talk about very often once they get to Washington, D.C.

All three of the Hoosier State’s Senate candidates -- Democratic representative Joe Donnelly, Republican state treasurer Richard Mourdock, and Libertarian Andrew Horning -- all voiced support for federal term limits in Tuesday night’s debate.

“I absolutely would, in fact I’ve signed on to that very type of plan,” Mourdock said in response to a question about limiting the terms of U.S. senators and representatives. “I believe in term limits, and I think they’re a good thing. I think they keep turning over ideas. … You know, there is a myth in Washington, and certainly among people who oppose term limits, is that we need all this seniority to have good ideas.”

In the Republican primary, Mourdock unseated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, who ties Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate. Mourdock received a donation from a term-limits organization in April.

Horning, the Libertarian candidate, said he had changed his position to agree. “I used to oppose term limits, because it’s more or less a recognition that voters are not doing their job. Isn’t that what you should be doing in the voting booth?” Horning said. “But I have to admit that yes, I’ve come around, and I do think we need to have term limits, and I agree that it should be pretty severe limits, maybe two terms of Senate, couple of terms or maybe three terms in the House.”

Donnelly, the only candidate among the three with experience in Washington, D.C., gave a half-agreement, noting his decision not to run for another term in the House.

“I have served three terms in the House and have said, ‘You know what? I have done work to try to save our auto industry, tried to stand up for our vets, worked for the state of Indiana, and …  if I have the privilege to serve in the Senate, I would think that if I was fortunate enough to win, two terms would be plenty, and then it’s time to come back home to Indiana,” Donnelly said. “So, I think it’s a program that can work, but I think also even more than term limits we put on ourselves, or some legislative term limits, it’s the people who make that decision by going to vote.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Minor Candidates to Debate Tuesday

Eugene Gologursky/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- If unenthusiastic voters aren’t satisfied with Monday’s final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, they should take comfort: There will be more debating to be had, with an entirely different set of men doing the talking.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and three other non-major-party presidential candidates will debate on Tuesday, a day after Obama and Romney square off, with former CNN host Larry King moderating their debate of alternatives at the Hilton Chicago.

The debate will feature the Libertarian Party nominee Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson.

The debate is being organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit group founded to “give every candidate a fair chance at winning their respective elections” and “allow voters to vote for a candidate that best represents their values and beliefs.”

No major networks will carry it -- at least no major American networks. It will stream online at three outlets:, where King now hosts a show; Russian English-language network Russia Today; and the Free and Equal Elections Foundation website.

None of these candidates were invited to square off with President Obama and Mitt Romney in the series of debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Ross Perot was the last third-party candidate to appear in those forums, in 1992.

“We are honored to have Larry King moderate this historic debate,” Christina Tobin, founder of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, said in a written statement released by the group this week. “The previous debates between President Obama and Governor Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans. From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions and real electoral options.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Immigration Decision Puts Senate Candidates on the Spot

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Some Senate candidates are walking fine lines on immigration policy after Friday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security, which has highlighted near-rifts between those candidates and their parties.

In Massachusetts, Republican Sen. Scott Brown criticized Obama and the DREAM Act while expressing openness to the legislation’s most basic policy tenet. Brown is engaged in a competitive reelection battle against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

“I opposed this policy in legislative form, and I oppose it today as an executive order,” Brown said, in a statement e-mailed in response to media requests. “While I’d be open to allowing young people who have chosen military service to obtain citizenship in recognition of the extraordinary sacrifice involved, I’m afraid that the administration’s policy is too broad and would set off a new wave of illegal immigration, making the problem worse, not better. … Rather than sidestepping Congress on this major policy shift, the president should work with us toward a bipartisan, long-term solution.”

Warren, meanwhile, offered unabashed support for the DHS move, which will halt deportations of young illegal immigrants.

In Nevada, Republican Sen. Dean Heller criticized Obama while offering the same critique Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lodged -- that the DHS decision is not a long-term solution. “However, the president has had three years to work with Congress to reform the immigration system and help undocumented children.  Unilateral action by the administration will not provide a long-term solution to this very serious issue,” Heller said. “Democrats and Republicans need to come together to solve this problem.”

In Nevada, 15 percent of 2008 voters were Hispanic, according to exit polls. They backed Barack Obama over John McCain 76 percent to 22 percent.

Like Warren, Heller’s opponent Shelly Berkley backed the new policy and called for passage of the DREAM Act, which would grant young illegals a pathway to citizenship if they join the military or complete some college education.

New Mexico Republican Heather Wilson, similarly sympathetic toward young illegal immigrants, offered hopeful remarks for Sen. Rubio’s DREAM-Act-like proposal, which does not include citizenship provisions.

"While I do not support amnesty, and never have, these are real lives at stake -- children who were brought to this country through no decision of their own -- and we owe it to them to find a long-term solution. Unfortunately, the decision today is temporary and leaves many questions unanswered,” Wilson said. “Senator Rubio is working on a bi-partisan, long-term solution, and I hope today’s action doesn’t stall efforts like his to solve this very important issue.”

New Mexico has the highest percent of Hispanic voters in the nation, with 41 percent. They backed Obama over McCain 69 percent to 30 percent.

Others said very little -- or nothing.

Asked what Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., thought about DHS’s decision, a spokeswoman emailed the following statement of general policy: “Sen. Nelson supports tough, fair, practical immigration laws that require people who want to become citizens to obey our laws, learn English, and get in line for citizenship.  He also supports the Dream Act, which says no law should punish children because their parents brought them here.  If a child of an immigrant has worked hard and graduated from high school, they should able to go into the military or attend college.”

The Senate and campaign offices of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., meanwhile, did not respond to inquiries.

Immigration’s political ambiguities did not extend to Virginia’s Senate race, where differences were partisan. Democrat Tim Kaine, the former governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, offered a full-throated backing of the DHS announcement, while former GOP senator George Allen offered up a scathing critique: “For blatant political purposes President Obama is ignoring the proper Constitutional responsibilities of elected representatives and making it more difficult to enact reasonable long-term immigration reforms. This short-term ploy is disappointing in that it disregards the proper role of case-by-case judgment in these individual matters,” Allen said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Holds Off on Endorsing GOP Candidate 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rick Santorum said Monday night there is “no question Barack Obama has to be defeated,” but did not say he would back presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, instead revealing he had only spoken to Newt Gingrich, not Romney yet.

“As far as going with a particular presidential candidate right now -- I mean -- had a chance to talk to Newt, I haven’t had a chance yet to talk to Gov. Romney,” Santorum said on a conference call. “But we’ll be talking to both of them and we are going to go out and deal with who we believe is in the best interest of our country and winning this election and make sure that we have a conservative platform, conservative message and they follow through with that conservative message after the election.”

This is a not-so-subtle jab at the man about to become the party’s standard bearer. Santorum consistently would say on the campaign trail that in 2008, Romney convinced him of his conservative bona fides before he backed him and then Romney quickly changed his tune.

Although Santorum is expected to eventually back Romney -- both longtime adviser John Brabender and top donor Foster Friess told ABC News last week they expect him to endorse Romney -- he was specific Monday night that he was not endorsing anyone in the presidential race.

“I haven’t supported any candidate at this point,” Santorum said, when asked who his supporters should vote for in the Pennsylvania primary on April 24.

He instead told them “the best thing” they can do is “stay tuned” and promised he would stay “active and engaged” in the campaign.

“What we are going to do is make sure we put together a winning idea that can rally folks and win this election up and down the ticket and that will be our focus,” Santorum said.

Sources close to the Santorum campaign tell ABC News Romney and Santorum may not even meet until after the Pennsylvania primary.

Santorum also made it clear he won’t be releasing his delegates to whomever he backs, saying he wants to “make sure” the delegates “go to the convention and have a say,” to influence the platform of the party and have an “impact on the convention process” making sure both the platform and convention “reflects the things our campaign stands for.”

Although he did not give any clues on his new venture, Santorum did say there will be a “place for people to organize and rally,” and he is working on the project and will share more information in one to two weeks. He stressed he will be active not only in the presidential, but down ballot races as well.

The call was moderated by longtime aide Mark Rodgers, and at the beginning Rodgers teased that there would be some sort of “surprise” during the 30-minute call.

Although no specific surprise was unveiled, listeners could hear his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, recovering from pneumonia being fed by Karen Santorum on the line, possibly what Rodgers was referring to.

Santorum said a lack of money was only a “very, very small piece of the story” of why they decided to end the race, and instead the losses in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. (Santorum was not on the ballot there), plus not being able to switch Texas to a winner-take-all state, made a way forward impossible.

He also said the campaign tried to “form a coalition” with the “rest of the conservatives in the race,” but that didn’t “pan out.” Santorum was referring to Gingrich and how he was not successful in convincing him to bow out and back him, even though Santorum was ahead in the delegate fight.

The call was to thank his supporters, but also to encourage debt relief. Supporters were able to connect directly to an operator while on the call to donate to the campaign and help it get out of debt. The camp has been soliciting funds from supporters since he left the race through email messages, but this was the first phone call trying to encourage backers to give to the shuttered campaign.

Both Santorum and his wife Karen were frank about how they felt emotionally since the decision to exit the race last week. Santorum said he was “frustrated,” while Karen Santorum called it an “amazing journey,” but said her family is “very sad” and they are dealing with a “tsunami of emotions.”

Karen noted that Bella, who suffers from the rare genetic disorder Trisomy 18, is recovering, but said the day she went to the hospital with “really bad pneumonia” the weekend before Santorum got out of the race was “one of the worst days of our life.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ballot Rules: Easiest, Toughest States for Candidates

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Friday U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. is expected to issue a ruling on the Virginia ballot challenge brought by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.  Perry, joined by his GOP opponents Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum, filed a court order in late December requesting access to the ballot in Virginia’s March 6 primary, after failing to qualify in the commonwealth earlier that month.

The four GOP presidential candidates assert that Virginia’s ballot rules impose a “severe burden” and are unconstitutional. Indeed, Virginia’s requirements to get on their ballot are numerous and specific; the state requires each candidate to submit 10,000 signatures to the state board of elections, including 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts, and signatures can only be collected by registered or eligible-to-register Virginian voters.

With the decision from Judge Gibney on the way, ABC News took a look at other states, besides Virginia, that have a difficult set of requirements to gain access to their ballot, as well as the states with simplest ballot requirements.


Arizona has one of the simplest rules for ballot qualification. There is one ballot requirement: candidates must submit a nomination paper, complete with a notarized, original (photocopied sheets not allowed) signature from the candidate. Jon Huntsman failed to qualify in this state because the paper turned in on his behalf was not notarized.


Illinois is a difficult state, with requirements similar to (though not as stringent as) Virginia. To qualify for the presidential preference ballot, a candidate must submit no fewer than 3,000 and no more than 5,000 signatures. On top of that, to qualify for ballot access in a specific congressional district, a candidate must submit 600 signatures per district, for each of the state’s 19 congressional districts.


Louisiana falls into the category of states with the easiest requirements. The state gives candidates two possible ways to qualify for the ballot in their presidential primary. Candidates can either turn in a total of 1,000 signatures from members of their respective party throughout the state. These signatures must include residents of each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Or, if a candidate prefers, they can submit a filing fee of $1,125.

New Hampshire

The first-in-the-nation primary ballot is easy to qualify for: Candidates must submit a declaration of candidacy along with a $1,000 filing fee to the New Hampshire secretary of state. This low qualifying threshold tends to result in a long list of names on the ballot.

South Carolina

South Carolina is a wild card -- for a well-financed candidate the state’s qualifications are easy; for a candidate whose campaign is low on cash, the state is difficult. That’s because South Carolina, while they have no signature requirements, has a lofty filing fee. Candidates who pay the Palmetto State’s filing fee before May 5 save a bit of a money -- they are only required to pay $25,000. For candidates who submit their payment afterwards, the price jumps up $10,000 to $35,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dick Cheney Tells GOP Presidential Candidates to Watch Their Mouths

ABC/Heidi Gutman(LOS ANGELES) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney isn’t picking sides in the battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but in a remarkably candid interview with ABC News in Los Angeles, he had blunt words about the current field of GOP candidates.

Cheney accused Rick Perry of using “over-the-top” rhetoric, chided Michele Bachmann for overpromising on the campaign trail and said that Jon Huntsman’s views on Afghanistan hew too closely to President Obama’s.

The comments came in a far-ranging interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, during which Cheney discussed, at length, his health problems and criticism of his book, and reflected on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But on the politics of today, Cheney said it was “inappropriate” for Perry to say that he would treat Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “pretty ugly down in Texas.”

“I disagree with him,” Cheney said. “Obviously he’s just getting started on the campaign. I’m not sure if he were to get elected he’d want to use that kind of language on the Fed chairman.”

While Cheney acknowledged that “you don’t want somebody at the Federal Reserve who’s managing the place "for politics," he said the charge that Ben Bernanke or his predecessor Alan Greenspan have done that “isn’t a valid charge.”

The former vice president to George W. Bush, who has just published a controversial new memoir titled In My Time, did not spare Bachmann from criticism either, dismissing her contention that if elected she could usher in a period of $2-a-gallon gasoline.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “The free market’s going to work on gasoline prices.”

While several of the Republican candidates have said they oppose raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances, Cheney said such talk is irresponsible.

“You’ve gotta maintain the credit worthiness of the United States government.  And you’ve got an obligation obviously to pay your debts,” Cheney said, adding, “I didn’t have a problem with the notion that our guys would say, “But we’re not doin’ anything with the debt ceiling till you sign up for deficit reduction.”

And, as for Huntsman’s view that it’s time to draw down U.S. troops who were part of the surge strategy in Afghanistan, Cheney said that would be “a mistake.”

“President Obama has announced he’s going to take out the surge forces before the end of the next fighting season. That’d be a big mistake. There’s no military reason to do that. I think it’s driven primarily by politics -- that he wants to get the forces out before the election in 2012 because he made those kinds of commitments and promises,” Cheney said. “I have a sense that that’s what Jon Huntsman is advocating. It’s a mistake. I think we cannot take the chance of walking away from the importance of staying on top of the situation and helping the Afghans acquire the capacity to control their own sovereign territory.”

Cheney did have words of praise for one non-candidate: Hillary Clinton.  He suggested Secretary Clinton would have been a better president than Barack Obama and, with a Darth Vader smile, mischievously suggested she should run against him in 2012.

“Hillary Clinton is a pretty formidable individual.  And I think she’s probably the most competent person they’ve got in their cabinet,” he said. “Maybe if the Obama record is bad enough, and these days it’s not very good, given the shape of the economy, maybe there will be enough ferment in the Democratic Party so that there will be a primary on their side.  I think it’d be good for the country.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bleak Prospects for Substantive Immigration Debate in 2012

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their political platforms to pitch to citizens all around the country, can they afford to take a firm stance on the controversial issue of comprehensive immigration reform?

The panel from ABC’s This Week discussed the politics of immigration in the green room after appearing on a special Independence Day weekend edition of the television program.

"No one wants to talk about it," ABC News' George Will said of candidates' desire to discuss immigration reform on the campaign trail. "And if they don't want to, they won't."

Although 2008 Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and, in recent weeks, President Obama seemed reasonably willing to discuss ideas for improving the nation's immigration system, both parties have generally avoided the heated debate.

"The fact is that this is an issue that's a problem for Democrats as well as Republicans," said former chairman of the Republican National Committee Mel Martinez. "Democrats have their constituencies – they don't like certain things about immigration or immigration reform because it impacts the labor movement and others. So this is a bipartisan failure here, not just Republicans."

While many political figures will recognize that the immigration system is in need of reform, few have thus far been willing to lead the charge. With elections looming for representatives, the prevailing view has been that immigration is too volatile to deal with on or near an election year.

Former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public School system Michelle Rhee recounted moments politicians were unwilling to fight for reform in the education system out of fear of losing an election – a concept she says translates the immigration debate.

"I hear this all the time in education that going into an election year, no one is going to take on the tough issues … because you know they have to worry about being in office," she said. "I think we have to change that dynamic, and we have to make sure that there actually is some incentive for politicians to take one the hard issues like education, like immigration, so we know where people stand, and we know where the vision is – and encourage more courage amongst these folks as opposed to just saying we'll deal with it later."

"Michelle, good luck on changing this dynamic," Will responded to Rhee. "The axiom in Washington is you can't do anything in an election year or before an election year, and that's every year."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona Law on Extra Public Election Funds Deemed Unconstitutional

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that an Arizona law providing additional funds to political candidates who receive public rather than private contributions is unconstitutional.

By a five-to-four vote, the high court said Arizona's attempt at leveling the playing field impinged free speech rights.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "The state grants funds to publicly financed candidates as a direct result of the speech of privately financed candidates and their" backers.

In essence, the decision of the five conservative judges does not end publicly funded campaigns but it does prevent states from trying to match contributions other candidates receive from wealthy private donors.

In the minority opinion of the court's liberal wing, Justice Elena Kagan said, "The majority's denigration of this interest...wrongly prevents Arizona from protecting the strength and integrity of its democracy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama: The First Billion-Dollar Candidate?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is on the verge of making a very important announcement -- one that we all probably could have predicted -- that he wants to keep his job as leader of the free world.

Obama is expected to send an e-mail message to supporters as early as this week and file his official papers with the Federal Election Commission, effectively announcing his re-election bid, unidentified Democratic officials who are familiar with the president's plans said Saturday.

The timing makes sense, as Obama has a large fundraiser scheduled in Chicago in a week and a half. The president also managed to raise $1.5 million at a fundraiser held in New York City last week.

Some believe that Obama, who has a true knack for raising election money, may cross the threshold and could become the first $1 billion presidential candidate. During his 2008 election campaign, Obama managed to raise a whopping $750 million.

Meanwhile, a laundry list of Republicans, from governors to former governors, senators and television personalities are laying the groundwork for a possible presidential bid.

There are plenty of "potential" Republican candidates already being touted in the media -- though not one has officially declared that he or she will take on the incumbent. This has given everyone from Donald Trump to Michele Bachmann plenty of attention.

Obama's re-election odds got a bit of a boost on Friday when it was announced that the March unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent, the lowest level in two years, and that the economy added 216,000 jobs last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


RNC Chairman Candidates Distance Themselves from Michael Steele in Forum

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was a no-show at a forum on Wednesday that featured a handful of candidates hoping to succeed him, but the event amounted to a referendum on his leadership.

It made no difference that Steele's name hardly came up at the event, organized by the Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks and the RNC’s Conservative Caucus. The four contenders who participated openly complained about the party’s lackluster fundraising in 2010 and promised to take steps to revive it heading into the 2012.

Former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins, who has not officially declared his candidacy but took part in Wednesday’s session, estimated that the party would need roughly $425 million to pay for election efforts in the next cycle. He pledged to raise that much.

“Chairman Steele is a fine man, he’s a good man and he’s always been good to me personally,” Collins said, but added, “The party under his leadership failed to raise the major donor money” that it will take to beat President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates two years from now.

“I don't think we can count on 2012 offering the kind of tailwind for Republican candidates as it did in 2010,” Collins said.

The RNC chairmanship will be decided by a vote of the committee's 168 members at the party's January meeting in Washington.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio