Entries in Jim DeMint (23)


Jim DeMint: Immigration Reform Will Cost US Trillions

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former South Carolina Republican senator and current Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint argued that implementing immigration reform as proposed by the so-called “Gang of Eight” would “cost Americans trillions of dollars,” citing a soon-to-be released update to the conservative group’s 2007 study on the impact of immigration reform.

“The study you’ll see from Heritage this week presents a staggering cost of another amnesty in our country,” DeMint said this morning on ABC’s This Week. DeMint’s claim is based on the “detrimental effects long-term” of government benefits that would eventually go to the millions offered a path to citizenship under the reform legislation currently being considered.

“There’s no reason we can’t begin to fix our immigration system so that we won’t make this problem worse. But the bill that’s being presented is unfair to those who came here legally. It will cost Americans trillions of dollars. It’ll make our unlawful immigration system worse,” DeMint said.

A 2007 study by Robert Rector said the cost to the United States of immigration reform would be at least $2.6 trillion, assuming all undocumented immigrants were granted “amnesty.” When asked if the new Heritage estimate would be more than $2.5 trillion, DeMint responded “much more than that.”

The 2007 study is not without its critics, such as Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, who wrote in April that the study’s “flawed methodology produced a grossly exaggerated cost to federal taxpayers of legalizing unauthorized immigrants while undercounting or discounting their positive tax and economic contributions.”

DeMint dismissed the criticisms, including estimates by the Congressional Budget Office that say immigration reform will increase economic growth.

“Well, CBO said Obamacare wouldn’t cost us anything. They’re basically puppets of the Congress and the assumptions they put in the bill. Heritage is only organization that has done an analysis on the cost,” DeMint said.

“If you consider all the factors related to the amnesty – and, believe me, this is comprehensive – that it will have a negative long-term impact on our gross domestic product,” DeMint added. “So we just want Congress, for once, to count the cost of a bill. They’re notorious for underestimating the cost and not understanding the consequences.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


SC Governor Names Tim Scott to Replace Jim DeMint in Senate

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Tim Scott will be the first African American senator from the South since Reconstruction, following South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's announcement on Monday.

Haley named Scott, a Tea Party Republican congressman from the state, to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in a press conference just after noon on Monday.  Scott will also be the only black in the Senate.

Tea Party leader DeMint is stepping down to head the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.

"He earned this seat for what I know he's going to do in making South Carolina and making our country proud," Gov. Haley said of Scott's appointment.

South Carolina Republicans predicted Scott would get the seat since DeMint announced his resignation less than two weeks ago.

DeMint called Scott "a great choice for South Carolina and the nation," in a statement released Monday.  Tea Party group FreedomWorks also had praise for Gov. Haley's decision.

"We are confident that Tim Scott will be a leading voice to advance the principles of individual freedom and limited-government, and he will be an excellent addition to a growing caucus of fiscal conservatives in the Senate," FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said on Monday.

In accepting Haley's nomination, Scott reflected on his childhood growing up in a single-parent household with a "mom who believed that sometimes love has to come at the end of a switch."

"And she loved me a lot," Scott laughed.

He said at this time, the nation is faced with some tough decisions and "needs some backbone."

"I look forward to pressing the flesh on economic development issues, having the opportunity to work on making sure that our economy in this state continues to hum like an engine and get on the team with Nikki Haley to make sure that all of America continues to hear the great things about South Carolina," Scott said.

Scott was the first black Republican in Congress since 2003 when he was first elected in November 2010 and the first black Republican from the South since 1901.

Scott will be the fifth black Senator since Reconstruction when he takes his seat.  The four others include Sen. Edward Brooke, R-Mass., who served from 1967 to 1979 and is the only other black Republican to join the Senate since Reconstruction; Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., who served as the first black woman Senator from 1993-1999; then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who was the first black male Democrat to join the Senate and served from 2005 until his resignation in 2008; and Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., appointed to President Obama's seat in 2009.

Monday's announcement makes him the first African American Southerner to take a seat in the Senate after the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


SC Governor Nikki Haley to Name Jim DeMint Replacement in Senate

Renee Ittner-McManus(WASHINGTON) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will name a new member of the Senate Monday afternoon, according to her spokesman, Rob Godfrey.

".@NikkiHaley will announce an appointment to fill the vacancy created by @JimDeMint's retirement during 12 PM Statehouse newser. TODAY.," Godfrey tweeted on Monday.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is stepping down to head conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.

When reached by phone, Rep. Tim Scott had no comment about reports he would be selected.  

South Carolina Republicans have speculated the Tea Party congressman would get the seat since DeMint announced his resignation less than two weeks ago.

If selected, Scott would be the fifth black Senator since Reconstruction.

Rumors suggested comedian and South Carolina native Stephen Colbert might be chasing the Senate seat, but Haley ruled out that possibility in a Facebook post 10 days ago.

"You forget one thing, my friend.  You didn't know our state drink," Haley wrote, linking to a clip of her appearance on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, in which Colbert forgot the state drink was milk. "Big, big mistake."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nikki Haley Shoots Down Stephen Colbert for Senate

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley may have brought Stephen Colbert’s Senate candidacy to a halt with the click of a button.

Rumors that the comedian was seeking the Senate spot left open by Sen. Jim DeMint’s departure circulated Thursday, after a Twitter account with the handle @ColbertforSC cropped up. Within a day, the account had more than 3,000 followers.

Just after noon on Friday, Gov. Haley made a post on Facebook that left little hope for Colbert.

“Stephen, thank you for your interest in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat and for the thousands of tweets you and your fans sent me. But you forget one thing, my friend. You didn’t know our state drink. Big, big mistake,” Haley wrote, linking to a clip of her appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” in which Colbert forgot the state drink was milk.

Many in the Twitterverse were excited about a possible Senator Colbert. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean even tweeted his endorsement.

But the authenticity of the Colbert account was questionable. The Twitter bio linked to a site that said it was not affiliated with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. And Colbert’s spokespeople never outright owned up to creating it.

“Now folks, I’m not going to sit here and say, I should be South Carolina’s next senator,” Colbert told his audience on “The Colbert Report” Thursday night. “Not when so many other people are saying it for me.”

Colbert encouraged viewers to tweet the South Carolina governor reasons she should appoint him to the U.S. Senate. Many did just that, even after the governor posted her Facebook denial.

“Hey @nikkihaley to be fair milk is super boring -- moonshine would probably be more apropos for S Carolina,” @JasonKerepesi tweeted Friday afternoon. “Appoint Stephen!!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stephen Colbert Hints at South Carolina Senate Run

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Is Stephen Colbert seeking Jim DeMint’s Senate seat in South Carolina?

You might think so looking at the @ColbertForSC Twitter account, created Thursday, shortly after DeMint announced his intent to resign and take a position at the Heritage Foundation.

The Twitter account featured a photo of the comedian saluting on a background of an American flag.  Its first tweets Thursday were all facts about the state, including the state butterfly and state horse.

The tone matched Colbert’s usual snark, entitlement and knack for referencing hilarious moments in political history.

“Nation!” @ColbertForSC tweeted.  “I want to get this out of the way early.  I’m not a witch.  I’m you.  We clear, people?”

But in the Twitter bio, it linked to, a website that said it was a draft petition “not affiliated with Stephen Colbert.”

A Colbert candidacy might not be as far-fetched as it seems.

“Stephen is honored by the groundswell of support from the Palmetto State and looks forward to [South Carolina] Gov. Haley’s call,” Colbert spokesperson Carrie Byalick told ABC News.

Anyone hoping for a spot in the Senate representing South Carolina has to be a resident of the state.  Colbert is known to live with his wife and children in New Jersey, but both he and wife, Evelyn, hail from Charleston, S.C.  A house there is listed in the White Pages under his wife’s name with the qualifier, “Guest House.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CPAC: DeMint Thinks GOP Race Could Go to Convention; Perry May Run Again

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- What did we learn walking around CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual Woodstock for the right, held in Washington, D.C.?

For starters, don’t expect the GOP presidential race to end anytime soon.

Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican and Tea Party leader, told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl he wouldn’t be surprised to see things go all the way to the convention in August in Tampa, Fla. Karl asked if he thought there was room for another candidate to enter the race at this point.

“I don’t know about another candidate,” Demint said. “But we may go to the convention and decide between these candidates. It’d be hard to bring in an unvetted candidate in the middle of a convention cause we see what this process is doing to our candidates. They’re all getting better. They’re all finding their real, I think value system. And it’s forcing them to be much more tenacious and passionate about what they believe. So anything can happen, I’ve stopped making predictions cause I’ve been wrong every time I’ve made a prediction.”

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All the way to the convention? Really? Some big name Republicans don’t want to call anyone the front-runner yet.

Take Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at the conference Thursday after ending his own race for president earlier this year. Perry endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich when he dropped out of the race. But Gingrich has not won a primary or caucus since his victory in South Carolina.

“I think this race is completely open,” Perry said. “I don’t think anyone has a lock on it at this particular point in time.”

Perry is back to his day job as governor of Texas, but he may not be done with presidential politics.

Karl asked him what he’d do differently, and he said he’d have gotten into the race earlier to hone his debating skills.

“Well obviously I think if I said we would have a little more intensive debate practice,” he said. “And it’s like anything in life, it’s, you know, the good news is this isn’t the only chance you may get in life for this.”

So he’d run again?

“Absolutely,” he said, later adding, “That’s what life better be about. Learn from your mistakes and you know how do you become better whether you’re a road builder or whether you’re a professional pilot or a teacher or whether you’re a doctor you want to be at the top of your game every time, but can you learn something new? You better be. Life would be pretty dull if you’re as good as you’re ever gonna get. Even a newscaster.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Jim DeMint: Mitt Romney Should be More Empathetic

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who has yet to endorse a GOP presidential candidate, said Friday he thinks Mitt Romney needs to work on his empathy.

DeMint dismissed attacks that portray Romney as a greedy capitalist, calling them “political talk” but he told ABC News Romney needs to better explain layoffs that occurred while he ran Bain Capital and express empathy for those workers.

“I know I had to do it a few times in my career and I had sleepless nights and it killed me to do it but I was doing it to save the other employees in my company and keep it going,” DeMint said. “If he doesn’t explain this well he’s going to see this again if he’s the nominee in the general election.”

Romney has repeatedly said companies Bain invested in went on to create 100,000 jobs but his campaign has declined to say how many employees were laid off during that time.

Any political attack ad that targets Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain “really bothers” DeMint.

“Successful companies have leaders who are willing to make hard, difficult, unpopular decisions for the good of the company,” DeMint told ABC News Radio in an interview to promote his new book Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse.

Sen. DeMint said he would not endorse a GOP candidate before Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, though he said he would not completely rule it out.

“The only way I could have been dragged into it is if we had two candidates and one was just completely on the wrong track and the other was moving in the conservative direction.”

DeMint said he has not talked to Romney in a while but emails frequently with him and with Ron Paul.

“I think he is in it to win or at least in it for the long haul.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry to Meet with Sen. DeMint, Gov. Haley in South Carolina

Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will make his economic pitch in the Palmetto State Tuesday morning, but he’s also squeezing in some time to meet with some of South Carolina’s heavy hitters -- Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint -- Perry’s spokesman tells ABC News.

Perry will meet with DeMint at his Greenville office after his economic speech. In the afternoon, Perry will meet with Haley at the statehouse after he holds a press conference with state legislators.

This will be Perry’s first meeting with DeMint. Perry was slated to attend the Palmetto Freedom Forum, which was planned by DeMint, over Labor Day weekend, but Perry scrapped those plans to return to Texas to deal with wildfires that were sweeping across the state.

A DeMint aide said the Senator will meet with Herman Cain next week.

Haley and Perry’s relationship dates back to their days in the Republican Governors Association. On the day of Perry’s announcement, Haley had kind words for him, calling the Texas governor a “superstar” with “brilliant” timing, but she left an endorsement open.

“All of the candidates are paying attention to South Carolina,” Haley said in August.  “It’s anybody’s game in South Carolina right now.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two GOP Senators Slated to Skip President Obama’s Speech

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two Republican senators plan to sit out President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress Thursday: Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Instead, Vitter will be throwing a football party in Louisiana. “I will listen to the President’s speech tomorrow carefully...from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat Nation,” Vitter wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. “Family and friends are coming over for big game. On to recovery -- and the Super Bowl!”

The New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFL season opener that evening.

DeMint told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Sunday that he would probably skip the president’s speech.

“If he sent a written proposal over first, I would go hear him explain it, but frankly, right now, I’m so frustrated I don’t think I’m going to go,” DeMint told Karl.

DeMint’s office confirmed Wednesday that the senator will definitely not attend the speech. Instead, he’ll be in Charleston, S.C., Thursday night to meet with officials from the Boeing Co., tour the new Dreamliner aircraft facility and meet with Boeing employees.

“I’m excited to meet with folks in South Carolina who are creating jobs and moving our economy forward, not just talking about it,” DeMint said in a statement Wednesday. "I also look forward to speaking with state leaders who are concerned that the federal government’s overreach is making job creation more difficult. Unfortunately, the president’s policies of spending, debt and over-regulation have been making matters worse, not better. America’s economy can’t be micromanaged from Washington.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates Grilled at South Carolina Forum

Stephen Morton/Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- On a day usually marked by end-of-summer barbecues, five presidential candidates came to South Carolina on Labor Day for a grilling of a different kind.

Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain spent Monday afternoon in front of a panel of three conservative inquisitors, including Tea Party icon, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).  They peppered each candidate with a detailed series of questions on everything from gay marriage to their view of the 14th Amendment to whether the United States was still the “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan famously envisioned.

And when they weren’t explaining the depth of their commitment to conservative principles, each used Monday’s Palmetto Freedom Forum to take a few swipes at President Obama.

When asked what he would do differently in the area of foreign policy, Romney replied, “A lot.  First, I’d have one.”

Gingrich dismissed the jobs speech President Obama plans to deliver this week, predicting that it would be a “collection of minor ideas surrounded by big rhetoric.”

Bachmann said that Obama has failed in his responsibility “to act under the Constitution and not place oneself over the Constitution.”

The candidates did not engage with each other face-to-face as they will on Wednesday at a debate in California, and notably, the current Republican frontrunner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was a no-show at the forum.  Though Perry took part in another campaign event across the state Monday morning he canceled on event organizers at the last minute in order to return to Texas to deal with the wildfires there.

At a news conference in Texas late Monday afternoon, Perry said he was “not paying any attention to politics right now.”

“There’s plenty of time to take care of that,” he added.  “People’s lives are in danger -- that’s substantially more important.”

Not on stage Monday night were candidates Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, who were left off the roster because they did not meet the polling threshold -- an average of 5 percent in national polls -- set by organizers of the event.

DeMint was joined on the panel of questioners by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Robert George, the founder of the American Principles Project, the group that hosted the forum.

After the forum, DeMint reflected on the two-hour-long session, saying he was not sure if it brought him any closer to a decision on who to endorse.  DeMint, who backed Romney in 2008, said he was “taking a completely fresh look” at the entire field this year.

“I’m not going to disqualify a candidate on one issue at this point,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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