Entries in John Thune (11)


Republicans Express Skepticism Following Obama's Address

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Given the statements made about President Obama's second inaugural address, it appears that he won't have an easy go of it with GOP lawmakers this term either.

Some prominent Republicans lawmakers criticized Obama’s inaugural address on Monday, saying he failed to reach out to their party.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said afterwards, "This is the eighth [inauguration] that I've been to and always there's been a portion of the speech where [the president says] 'I reach out my hand because we need to work together.’  That wasn't in this speech."

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, remarked that Obama "wasn't doing the kind of outreach that he needs to do if he wants to get things accomplished in a second term."

Meanwhile, Maine Sen. Susan Collins gave the speech a mixed review, saying it sounded partisan on one hand but that she'll give the president the benefit of the doubt that he'll at least try to meet Republicans half-way.

However, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an outspoken critic of the president during his first term, sounded genuinely surprised in a good way about the address.

While he heard a few things conservatives will outright reject, Gingrich added, "95 percent of the speech, I thought, was classically American, you know, emphasizing hard work and emphasizing self-reliance, emphasizing doing things together."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


VP Beat: Two Contenders Boosting Foreign Policy Cred

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- PORTMAN TO MEET WITH ISRAELI LEADERS: Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who sits atop VP contender lists, will meet Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barack, ABC News’ Gregory Simmons and Alex Marquardt report.

RUBIO TOUCHED BY FIRST CUBA TRIP: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, whose parents emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1956, made his first trip to the island Tuesday when he toured Guantanamo Bay.  “Certainly, it was touching to be able to fly over the island from a distance and see it and know that’s the land that saw your parents and your grandparents born,” Rubio said at a news conference in Miami after his return, the Miami Herald reported. “It’s a place I hope to visit one day soon; a free Cuba, one where the people of Cuba can chose their own leaders and chose their own future.”  Rubio dismissed suggestions that the trip was an attempt to boost his VP credentials, saying it was a routine stop as “a member of the Intelligence Committee.”

THUNE, A DARK HORSE VP? Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said last week he had not been asked to submit vetting documents, but as National Review’s Bob Costa reported, Thune might be a “dark horse” candidate for VP. “As Mitt Romney’s senior advisers consider their vice-presidential prospects, they’re keeping an eye on a dark horse: Senator John Thune, a lanky and telegenic South Dakota Republican.  ‘Even though he’s not from a battleground state, he’s seen as serious and credible,’ says John Sununu, a Romney confidant. ‘There’s no question, in my mind, that he’s on the list for consideration.’… According to sources close to the Romney campaign, the former Massachusetts governor may be inclined to tap a mild-mannered, business-friendly Midwestern senator.”

McDONNELL NOT ASKED FOR VP DOCUMENTS: Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Tuesday that he has yet to be asked to submit documents to the Romney team for vetting.  “Nope,” McDonnell said as he laughed.  “But I’m going to do everything I can to help him win Virginia.” Video here.


  • @robportman: Honored to lead effort to award Congressional Gold Medal to Golden Bear & OH native @jacknicklaus for his work both on & off the golf course
  • @govchristie: Making a quick stop to chat with patrons at the Irish Pub is how I ‪#DoAC‬.
  • @kellyayotte: Visiting @EASTERNMNTN Sports HQ in Peterborough
  • @GovMaryFallin: Looking forward to welcoming Charles Barkley to the great city of OKC on Thursday!

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Picks Up Endorsement from Sen. John Thune

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Mitt Romney on Wednesday will pick up yet another major endorsement of the week when South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune endorses him at a campaign stop in Iowa.

Thune, considered to be a rising GOP star, defeated Senate minority leader and incumbent Sen. Tom Daschle in 2004.  Thune’s name was also floated as a vice presidential nominee during Sen. John McCain’s president bid in 2008.  And Thune ruled out a presidential run of his own in February, saying in a statement that he had decided to remain in “the trenches” of the Senate.

Romney has received endorsements in the past few days from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H.

Speaking about his endorsement of Romney, Thune wrote on Wednesday, “The next election will be the most important in generations.  We can choose to continue on the same path with four more years of President Obama’s failed policies or we can choose a leader who has the needed experience to lead an economic recovery.”

“Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life in the private sector, as leader of the Olympics, as governor, and in this campaign that he will not back down from difficult challenges,” Thune said.  “His plans to revitalize the private sector and restore our country’s fiscal health are drawn from his 25-year career as a conservative businessman.  Washington could use these commonsense principles at such a critical time.”

Romney, who visited South Dakota in October, said that he is “honored” to have Thune’s support.

“On the issues that I have been fighting for in my campaign -- creating a better business environment, lessening the regulatory burden and ending Washington’s spending addiction -- Sen. Thune has been a leading voice in the Senate,” Romney said.  “He will be a trusted adviser as I bring this message to voters, work to reverse President Obama’s failed policies, and reform Washington.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. John Thune: Obama 'Has Got to Change Course' on Economy

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the weekly Republican address to the nation, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota calls the president’s economic policies “damaging,” and says that “his proposed solutions are not serious.”

“His latest stimulus bill is so flawed that Senate Democrats have rejected it and are rewriting it, not to grow jobs, but to improve their political standing,” Thune says.

“It’s nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas he’s already tried, combined with a huge tax increase. This is a cynical political ploy that’s designed not to create jobs for struggling Americans,” the South Dakota senator says, “but to save the president’s own job.”

In his own weekly address, President Obama urges Senators to pass the American Jobs Act next week or face an even weaker economy, saying that his $447 billion bill will “provide our economy with the jolt that it really needs right now.”

The president challenges congressional Republicans who say they have a better plan to “prove it.”

In the GOP address released Saturday, Thune says there are “common sense things that we can do to give America the freedom and the certainty to create good jobs.”

“For starters," Thune says, "we can finally implement the free trade agreements we’ve negotiated with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea."

Thune then takes a shot at the president, noting he waited "almost 1,000 days" before submitting those trade deals -- negotiated under the Bush administration -- to Congress.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that we had to wait so long for the president to do something so simple, to help promote American exports, and create American jobs,” he says.

“In my state of South Dakota we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. That’s because our state has low taxes, fewer government regulations, and is a right-to-work state.

“The Republican plan to get our country moving again builds on these kinds of ideas.  We’re calling for a regulatory time-out, an affordable energy plan, broad-based tax reform including lower rates, and policies that provide the certainty and stability our economy desperately needs.”

Thune concludes his address by saying that Washington has grown “too powerful” under President Obama, and urges the president to change his economic policies – which he says have “hurt job creation.”

“Too often Washington is the problem, not the solution, and we’ve seen the results since President Obama was sworn in and started moving our country in the wrong direction.”

“President Obama," Thune says, “has got to change course.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Thune: Sen. Alexander Is ‘A Tough Act to Follow’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senator John Thune, R-S.D., wants to move up a notch in the Republican leadership. When Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced Tuesday that he will leave his job as Senate Republican Conference Chairman, Thune immediately announced plans to seek the No. 3 GOP Senate post. "Lamar will be a tough act to follow,” Thune said on ABC’s Top Line Wednesday, especially in an election year. “It’s also really important for us as Republicans here in Congress to get the things that we’re doing -- our agenda -- across with the American people, and that’s really what the job entails.”

Despite Alexander being a tough act to follow, Thune said there is room for improvement should he win the leadership race. "If successful, I only have one direction to help take us: up,” he said.

Which is also the direction most lawmakers want the economy and jobs numbers to go, too. Thune said most Republicans disagree with President Obama’s jobs plan, which is slated for a vote in the Senate sometime next month.

“I hope that we can find some agreement on some issues,” said Thune. The GOP, he continued, will want to deal with regulations, taxes, moving trade bills and getting government spending under control.

Thune said he could support spending on infrastructure. The payroll tax cut may also get some Republican support, though Thune himself is not a big fan. The tax cut, like the rest of the president’s jobs plan, he said, is too short-sighted.

“It may help a little bit in terms of GDP next year, but it’s not going to get us back on track to really get the economy humming again.”

Thune also wants to hear Obama lay out a plan to fix Social Security, a hot-button topic for 2012.

“I think most people acknowledge that Social Security, you know...they would tell you it’s not viable for future generations,” said Thune. People want to know how it will be fixed, and whether it will protect benefits for people who are retired today, Thune continued.

Back to Senate leadership, the Senate Minority Whip position will also be up for grabs in 2012, when Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., retires. Thune would not commit to throwing his hat in the ring for that race.

“I don’t think you rule anything out, you just never know what’s going to happen around here,” said Thune. “I think you have to be, you know, keep your options open and think about where you can serve your conference and your country the best.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Despite GOP Encouragement, Thune (Still) Not Running for President

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., spent a good portion of the day denying that he is rethinking a bid for the Republican nomination for president. And he wants everyone to know...for right now, he’s not running for president.

“I am where I am and my focus is on the United States Senate,” Thune said on Fox News Channel Tuesday evening.

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol told C-SPAN Monday that Thune is rethinking a presidential run, reenergizing the questions of whether Thune is really out of the race for good.

“He (Thune) was sort of the more establishment favorite of the senators,” Kristol said, adding that he’s been told Thune is rethinking. “I think a lot of this depends if there is a huge vacuum. If Romney seems to fall through, if Pawlenty doesn’t take off, if neither Perry nor Bachmann seem like they’re getting majority support. There will be a big vacuum in September. Someone could get in. And Thune would like to do it.”

Thune admitted, though, that some in his party have recently been encouraging him to reconsider.

“I’ve had some encouragement to reconsider where I was when I announced that I won’t be running this time around,” Thune said, “And it may continue to happen. I think that’s partly based on the field as people dropped out of the race and people thought, ‘Well we need more people in there,' you know, 'Thune took a pass but maybe he’d think about reconsidering.'”

What about a vice presidential consideration if asked?

“You never say never,” Thune said. “But my view is there is plenty of work for me to do in the Senate. I like what I’m doing and I have not changed my position with regards to the issue in national office. I just think right now I just need to be focused on trying to get spending and debt under control and trying to get policies enacted that would create jobs in this country.”

Thune said that he is not sure that the Republican field is set yet and that he anticipates it will widen in the days and weeks to come.

Thune, the current chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, entered the Senate in 2004, defeating Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Republican Senator Announces He Won't Run for President

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune announced on Tuesday he is staying out of the 2012 presidential race, saying that he wanted remain in the U.S. Senate.

Here is the full statement from Thune and his wife, Kimberley:

For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction.

During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.

Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America. There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

I want to thank those who have encouraged us and prayed for us during the past several months. We are forever grateful for all the support.

John and Kimberley

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Thune Ribs Palin?: ‘Closest I’ve Come to Being on a Reality TV Show’ Is C-SPAN

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a potential 2012 presidential candidate ever-so-gently tweaked Sarah Palin, a possible rival for the GOP nomination in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

“The closest I’ve come to being on a reality TV show is C-SPAN’s live coverage of the Senate floor,” Thune told the crowd at CPAC in Washington. “It’s not the most exciting television, but it did have a good ending last year because a number of my liberal colleagues got voted off.”

Palin, of course, starred in her own reality television series, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, which aired on TLC.

Thune, who has kept his presidential intentions close to the vest, did not offer many clues about running in his remarks on Friday. He did, however, acknowledge what many political observers have said this could be a main weakness if he decides to enter the race.

“It’s fair to say that I don’t have the same national name recognition as some of my more famous Republican colleagues have,” he said. “I’ve never had a book signing. I’ve been to Iowa plenty of times, but it’s usually on my way to South Dakota."

The South Dakota Republican’s speech was thick with criticism of the Obama administration. He said that based on the policies the president outlined in his recent State of the Union address, the country was in for “more of the same" in 2011.

“President Obama likes to talk about winning the future,” Thune said. “But someone needs to tell him:  You can’t win the prosperity of tomorrow if you’re mortgaging it to pay for the big government programs of today.”

Thune took aim at what he said was President Obama’s “weak response” on foreign policy issues like the danger posed by Islamic extremism and the economic threat from China.

On the domestic front, he called for passing a balanced budget amendment and reforming big government programs like Social Security and Medicaid.

“If we’re going to solve our entitlement problem,” Thune warned, “we’re going to need to solve our White House problem by electing a conservative president in 2012."

Copyright 2011ABC News Radio


Senator John Thune’s 'Big Opportunity': Will He Run?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told ABC News he sees “a big opportunity on the national field” and will soon make a decision on running for president.

“I think these are interesting times and you always want to look at where you can best serve your country best,” Thune said.  “Obviously, there’s a big opportunity on the national field.”

Although he said he hasn’t made a “final decision” about running for president, Thune said a decision is coming soon.

“It won’t be long,” Thune told ABC News.  “We realize that if you’re going to do this, you have to get moving.  The clock is ticking.”
He’s already getting a boost of sorts from the number one Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“He’s a very sharp, capable individual.  He’s a good speaker [and has] good leadership qualities which I see on display every week in the Senate.  I'm a big John Thune fan,” McConnell said at the inaugural Playbook Breakfast Wednesday morning.

ABC News also learned McConnell may be helping Thune out behind the scenes as well.  If Thune runs, he may be the only senator -- possibly the only member of congress -- in the race.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Earmark Hypocrisy? GOP Leaders Grilled on Spending

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Thune, R-S.D., held a press conference Wednesday to rip the Democrats' new 1,924-page, $1.1-trillion omnibus bill for containing $8 billion worth of earmarks.

"The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn't get a vote," Thune said.

"I think this is an outrage," railed Cornyn.

But Thune and Cornyn have tens of millions of dollars for their own earmarks in the bill, including Thune's request for $8 million for B-1 bomber fleet maintenance and Cornyn's request for $1.6 million for the Texas Army National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force.

"How do you have any credibility on this?" ABC's Jon Karl asked.

"Because we're going to vote against the bill," said Cornyn. "This is the wrong way to do business."

"Senator, were you wrong when you put these earmarks in before?," Karl asked.

"Karl, this is not just about earmarks," said Cornyn. "Earmarks are a symptom of wasteful Washington spending that the American people have said they want reformed. We agree with them, and that's why we will vote against this bill. But you're missing the story if you think it's just about earmarks. This is about a flawed process of sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors, and a big bill, a spending bill, dropped on the American people and on us on December the 14th, without adequate time to amend it and debate it and to reveal to the American people what is in it so they can cast their judgment."

"So I think -- I think that's to me the context. And we've said very clearly -- we voted for an earmark moratorium. We will abide by that, and we will reject any earmarks requested by us or anyone else, because that's what the American people told us they want."

"Is that an acknowledgement that what you did was wrong, to include the earmarks in the first place?," Karl said.

"I think you've asked the question about five times, and I've tried to answer it to the best of my ability," Cornyn responded.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio